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By H. F. WOOD. 

( It would seem as if on this side of the Channel we are destined to have a 
school of "detective fiction." If it at all maintains the level reached in 
"The Passenger from Scotland Yard," this will be a source of unmixed 
pleasure to the novel-reader. The pioneers of this class of literature have in 
Mr. Wood a formidable rival. His book is one of the be^t-constructed and 
best-written of this class that has yet been produced. The much-abused 
words "absorbing" and " exciting" are especially applicable to this clever 
work.'— Morning Post. 

( An anxiously elaborate detective story after Gaboriau. . . The book 
should be read in the train — if possible, the night mail to Paris.'— Saturday 

' Mr. Wood is a clever writer. Indeed, if this be his first literary venture, 
he is very much to be congratulated on the success which he has achieved. 
. . # Sensation enough and to spare, but all of the most pleasantly stimu- 
lating kind : and we are not ashamed to confess that at times we were aware 
of a thrilling sensation which recalled our youth and the days when we read 
for pleasure and not for business. Therefore the delights in store for the 
casual reader of Mr. Wood's book may be imagined.' — Whitehall Review. 

' A detective story, the author of which is very skilful in suggesting wrong 
theories for the reader to start upon.' — St. James's Gazette. 

* Mr. Wood's clever and exciting tale. . The book is an uncommonly 
favourable specimen of its class ; the characters are well drawn, the style is 
alert, and the ingenuity of the plot is worthy of Gaboriau. The denouement 
is spiritedly worked out. Mr. Wood takes great pains with his minor char- 
acters, and the results are eminently satisfactory.' — Athenaeum. 

'Clever and interesting.' — Congregational Review. 

* An undeniably clever story. . . . The interest of the story is cleverly 
maintained, and the adventures of " the Passenger from Scotland Yard," and 
the group of conspirators in whose movements he manifests such a lively 
concern, are put through their paces in a sufficiently sensational way to 
please even a blase reader of this kind of fiction.' — Leeds Mercury. 

'This is a cleverly narrated detective story, on an original plan, and with 
original and sharply drawn characters. . . We cordially commend the 
work as a clever and conscientious sketch of contemporary life, and as a 
thoroughly entertaining "tale of two cities."' — Galignani's Messenger. 

* A detective story of far more than ordinary interest. It is far above 
the ordinary range of such fiction. It is a well-constructed, well-written, 
powerful story.'—ScoTSMAN. 

* The detective of fiction is still irresistible. Mr. Wood's portraiture 
of the great Byde of Scotland Yard is cleverly managed. . . Most people 
will try to get through " The Passenger from Scotland Yard " at a sitting.*— 
Glasgow Herald. 








[The right of translation is reserved] 



From London to Dover — The Wilmot Diamonds — An Arrcsi 1 

The Channel Boat -.-.....- 12 

From Calais to Paris — A Passenger missing 23 

Mr. Bingham meets the Train - - - - 31 


Inspector George Byde draws np a Report on the Wilmot 
(Park Lane) Inquiry ; and subsequently describes, among 
other matters, an equilateral triangle on a given finite 
straight line ------ -38 

Vine, alias Grainger, alias Sir John ... .51 

A Case of ilurdcr --- -- --C2 




The Paris Offices of the I.O.T.A.— Brother Neel 7-i 


The Morgue ..«.-■■--- G7 


Inspector Byde and an Old Friend— The Inspector tries his 
own particular method - .... 101 


Brother Neel at the Hotel des Nations — His strange Neigh- 
bours — He leaves a Parcel with his Colleague of the 
I.O.T.A. 115 


Detective Toppin omits to ascertain the errand of Miss 
Murdoch— M. Michel Hy (of the Prefecture)— His ' Theory 
of Surmise ;' and an unexpected piece of evidence - - 130 


The Inspector calls upon Miss Adela Knollys — "Were there 
ever any ' Wilmot Diamonds ' ? ... - 145 


The Vicomte de Bingham (otherwise ' Innocent Ben ') 1G5 


A Clue found by the French Press — Secret Societies — The 
'Maelstrom' - - - - - 180 




Brother Xeel receives a visit — The Parcel — A great chance 
for the Inspector to atone for One, Mistake - 198 


No Care ? - - 215 


Miss Knollys calls on the Inspector — The strange Neighbours 
of Brother Xeel - - 231 


The "Wilmot Diamonds — The Anarchist has 'changed his 
doctrine ' — A Snare laid by the Inspector - 247 


Mr. Sinclair's Situation— Detective Toppinhas succeeded, and 
has failed — He sends off a Telegram for Mr. Byde, who 
leaves Paris by the Morning Mail - 2 01 


The Man who follows the Inspector — The Golconda Club — 
An Interview with the Chief - - - ^78 




The night mail for the Continent stood ready to glide out of 
the London terminus, the leave-taking friends assembled in 
small groups upon the platform before the carriage doors 
were reiterating last messages and once more exchanging 
promises to ' write,' when a hard-featured, thick-set gentle- 
man who had been peering out of a second-class window 
drew back with a slight exclamation of annoyance or disap- 
pointment, and sank into a corner seat. Hardly a moment 
had passed, when the rattle of the guard's key was again 
heard in the lock, and the door fell open to admit a fifth 
passenger. ' Just in time, sir !' muttered the guard, bang- 
ing the door after the new arrival and relocking it. He 
immediately signalled with his lamp, a whistle rang out 
sharply, and the night mail for the Continent started from 

The new-comer installed himself unobtrusively in the 
nearest vacant place, and at once muffled himself up in a 
travelling-rug and a voluminous wrapper or two. Presently 
there was little to be seen of his face but a pair of gray eyes 
and a Roman nose. He sat with his back to the engine, in 
the corner opposite the thick-set, rubicund, hard-featured 
gentleman, and the latter had from the first followed his 
movements with a singular interest. In fact, the new-comer 
might have been justified in remarking with some impatience 


2 THE PASSENGER FROM ^CUl\LJiivu xsi^is. 

upon the odd scrutiny of which he thus became the object. 
He seemed, however, to be quite oblivious of his fellow- 
passengers. It was nothing to him, apparently, that the 
gaze of those blood-shot blue eyes should be roving con- 
tinually from the cloth cap which he wore, with lappets over 
the ears, to the bulky hand-bag he kept upon his knees, and 
the plain walking-stick he had deposited in the receptacle 
overhead. The walking-stick had knots or rings along its 
length, such as are suitable for concealing the juncture of 
the handle and the sheath in ordinary sword-canes. Its 
owner kept his eyes lowered, for the most part, as though 
he wished to be as little observed as he was himself obser- 
vant, and as though he feared to be drawn into conversation 
by even a chance interchange of glances. But, now and 
then, he might have been detected in a rapid survey of the 
entire compartment ; indeed, at the end of one of these 
lightning-like excursions, his gray eyes encountered the 
blood-shot, inquiring orbs of the passenger opposite. It 
was already some time since the train had glided out of 
the London terminus, and dashed through the suburban 
stations on its way to Dover. 

'A curious case — that diamond robbery in Park Lane!' 
said the red-faced, thick-set gentleman aloud. He appeared 
to be addressing the remark to the company in general, but 
he still watched the features of the latest arrival amongst 
them. That personage moved slightly as ha heard the 
remark, but proffered no response. He merely closed the 
keen gray eyes, and buried his chin deeper in the warm 
travelling wrap. The rest of the company turned interro- 
gatively towards the speaker. ' A strange case,' he repeated, 
studying the closed eyelids in front of him ; ' the man who 
planned that robbery and got away with all those diamonds 
must be a clever man at his business, and no mistake. 
He'll want some catching, that man will ! But I think I 
know a man as clever as he is — and quite clever enough to 
do the catching for him.' 

' Dear me, now !' returned a passenger in a sort of attire 
which, without being clerical, had a clerical look, ' I have 
seen no mention of the occurrence in the newspapers. May 
I ask you, sir, to what affair you make allusion?' 

' "Well, I shouldn't be surprised if none of the papers had 
yet heard of it,' answered the other ; ' but they'll hear of 


it to-morrow morning, I dare say. We're due at Dover at 
ten o'clock, and we don't stop on the way, bar accidents. 
But when we do run into Dover Station, I dare say we 
shall see what we shall see !' 

He drew a spirit-flask out of his pocket, and took a pull 
at it. His questioner had been about to put some further 
query, but checked himself at the sight of the flask. A 
suspicion that the man had had recourse to it before was 
easily discernible upon his countenance. In the far corner, 
a short, spare, youthful passenger, lost in the folds of a 
roomy ulster, turned towards the window and composed 
himself for sleep. 

' Yes, you may say what you like about the failures of the 
police,' continued the person who had begun the conversa- 
tion, 'but I say that the London detective force are a body 
of remarkable men, and I know something of their ways 
and what they do, sir, I can tell you. Know something 
about them ? I should think I did !' 

'Bless me, now, really?' said the clerical gentleman, 
evidently quite interested. ' And what may be the nature of 
this robbery you refer to — this diamond robbery in Park 
Lane ; an extensive affair, now ?' 

' Twenty thousand pounds,' replied the other, ' that's all ! 
Twenty thousand pounds' worth, at a fair figure.' He 
screwed up the spirit flask, and fixed his gaze obstinately on 
the closed eyelids opposite. ' Gone out of a safe in the 
strong room, where they had been placed for one night 
only : and no traces !' 
' No traces whatever ?' 

' Nothing. But, all the same, there are certain circum- 
stances which — well, if they do happen to be upon the right 
track, they'll owe a good deal of it to me. For I don't mind 
telling you that as a tradesman living in the neighbourhood of 
Park Lane and serving the house in question — Mr. Wilmot's 
house — Stanislas Wilmot, diamond merchant in Hatton 
Garden — wealthy old boy — as a tradesman, I say, serving 
the private house in Park Lane regularly, I happen to have 
been situated better than most people for knowing what was 
going on inside it. However that may be, the man was 
a clever one tha<fc planned this robbery.' 

' Well, well, well ! But tell me how this Mr. Wilmot, 
with premises in Hatton Garden presumably suited to his 



business, came to transfer so large a quantity of valuables 
to bis private residence ?' 

' Because the quantity of valuables was large. The con- 
signment bad only been delivered at his office on the 
previous day, although he had been expecting it for a week 
or two. Well, he doesn't like to trust his clerks, and he 
doesn't like to trust the housekeeper in Hatton Garden, or 
the watchman, or the strong-rooms there, and so he prefers 
to take extra good stones, passing through his firm, to 
the little private house he occupies in Park Lane. Oh, it 
isn't the first time he has run the risk, by a long way. He 
knows what he's about, though, as a rule. There's always 
a special constable on duty just about there, in the lane ; 
and the strong-room in the private house is as good as you 
could wish to see. He's an old swell, a widower; and you 
can often see him riding in the Eow with a young lady 
he has adopted — Miss Adela, a poor relation of his wife's.' 

' The thief, or thieves, then, broke into the private 
remises during the night ?' 

' Who can say ? The old boy brought these diamonds 
home without saying anything to anybody. In the presence 
of his butler, he deposited them as usual in his strong-room. 
The next morning they found both the locks intact, but 
the diamonds were gone.' 

' Is he sure he locked them up ?' 

' Sure ? Of course he's sure ! And so is his butler.' 

' Ah ! A confidential servant, now, the butler ?' 

' Yes, sir, a confidential servant.' 

' Quite so, just so ! a confidential servant.' 

' Oh, I can answer for the butler. I can answer for him 
as I can answer for myself.' 

The clerical gentleman smiled sweetly, and inclined his 
head. If, with Master Dumbleton, he ' liked not the 
security,' he did not allow his mistrust to be manifest. 

The train rushed onwards to its destination, covering 
mile after mile at the same headlong speed. It was the 
third week of December, and the weather was detestable. 
Driven against the carriage windows by violent gusts of 
wind, the rain showered like hailstones upon the panes 
of glass. As the passengers flashed through the stations on 
their route, the lights, appearing to thern for an instant only, 
were all blurred and indistinct. Three occupants of the 


compartment we have travelled with were doubtless fast 
asleep. The clerical gentleman had not lapsed into 
slumber, that was clear. His lips occasionally moved as 
though he were engaged in the rehearsal or construction of 
a discourse. He opened his eyes dreamily from time to 
time, and at one of these moments his gaze met that of hia 
communicative, red-faced neighbour. 

' Going to cross the Channel, sir ?' asked the latter. 


' Calais or Ostend, sir ?' 

' And a tolerably rough crossing it will be,' pursued the 
other. ' Are you going by the boat, yourself ?' 

' I think I shall stay a night or two at Dover. My 
business takes me across the water every now and then, 
but a day sooner or later does not signify. West End 
tradesmen are largely supplied from the Continent, and I 
deal regularly with certain houses myself. Business has 
been bad, however. Those who do cross to-night will find 
it nasty in the Channel, I can tell you.' He unscrewed his 
pocket-flask. ' And there'll be some fun at Dover, if the 
man shows fight.' 

' Bless me, now ? The affair you were referring to ?' 

'Why, yes. I don't mind telling you' — the speaker 
stared once more at the closed eyes and the Roman nose 
directly opposite hin> — ' that they've got the man suspected, 
or, rather, that they will have him. On all the northern 
lines the police are on the look-out by this time. It was 
thought he would make a feint of taking refuge on the 
Continent, and that he would go north instead. But I 
believed he was bound for the Continent in reality, and 
unless I am very much mistaken he is in this train. The 
butler has been at Folkestone or Dover since this morning, 
and the local police were wired to watch the night mail. 
The butler will identify him, but there may be a confederate 
in the case. A detective who had seen him in suspicious 
company was to run down by the night-mail — this very 

He winked most expressively as he uttered these words, 
and nodded with great vigour in the direction of the Eoman 
nose and veiled gray eyes. The clerical gentleman lifted 
his eyebrows and pursed up his mouth in the profoundest 
astonishment. As a kind of confirmation and rejoinder, 


the other smiled upon one side of his rubicund visage, and 
again nodded and winked. 

' Bless me !' ejaculated the clerical gentleman. ' And the 
man whom you suspect, now — who is he ?' 

' A young fellow of good family, named Sinclair, private 
secretary to old Stanislas Wilmot until three months ago, 
when he was suddenly dismissed. He knew all about the 
old boy's business dealings, and has been seen several times 
in the neighbourhood of the house during the past few 
weeks. He gave it out that a gentleman abroad had en- 
gaged him as private secretary. We can see very well 
what that little manoeuvre meant. A great pity, for he 
was generally liked, and quite a superior young gentle- 
man. Miss Adela and he — well, well — I say nothing.' 

' But how could he have got into the strong-room?' 

' That's just what I said. The butler thinks he must 
have got in simply with the keys ; and as Mr. Wilmot's 
keys were not out of his possession for a single moment, 
while the diamonds were there, he thinks the young fellow 
must have had duplicates. It seems that the keys were 
once mislaid for a few hours, before Mr. Sinclair went away. 
You can soon take a pattern for duplicates, can't you? Great 
pity, sir. The result of fast life, however, from what the 
butler tells me.' 

' Suppose the young man really had had these duplicates 
made, with dishonest intention ; they might, likewise, have 
been stolen from himself, or "borrowed" in just the same 

They stared at each other for several seconds, and then 
looked round the compartment as if for the opinions of 
their fellow- voyagers. There could be no doubt that they 
were all three fast asleep. 

Suddenly the carriage began to vibrate with a succession 
of shocks. The train was slackening its pace. Two of the 
other passengers woke up immediately. 

' Something on the line,' observed the clerical gentleman 
— ' or else we are going to pull up at a roadside station.' 

' A roadside station !' growled his red-faced interlocutor, 
' and what for ? Wo are not far from Dover, and we shan't 
be punctual as it is.' 

He let down the window. 

The train reached the first lamps of a small country 


station. It was moving at so slow a rate that at any 
instant it might have stopped. Voices outside could be 
heard, calling backwards and forwards. ' Wire to Dover,' 
shouted somebody, and a second or two afterwards the train 
took a fresh impetus. 

' I don't know what it is,' muttered the red-faced gentle- 
man, putting up the window again, ' unless it refers to the 
Wilmot affair. Perhaps young Mr. Sinclair has been 
detected in the train under some disguise. The two guards 
were in communication.' He mopped his cheeks with his 
handkerchief, and wiped the clinging rain-drops from his 
coat. 'A pretty crossing!' he added — 'a pretty crossing, 
to-night, for those who've got to make it. Going to Calais, 

He put the question abruptly, to the passenger whose big 
blue spectacles seemed still to be bent upon him. 

' Yes, I am going across,' was the answer, in somewhat 
affected tones ; ' as I suppose we all are ?' 

' In this weather !' exclaimed in unmistakable Cockney 
accents the youth ensconced within the ulster. ' Not me ! 
Cross in a gale of wind like this, and with the rain a-coming 
down in bucketsful ! Not if I know it, for one — not one, 
Mr. Wilkins !' 

He delivered these phrases in the manner of a soliloquy, 
and it was to be conjectured that the Wilkins he apostro- 
phised was but the creature of his fancy, a familiar who 
received habitual confidences. He shrank further into the 
festoons of his shapeless garment, and turned his face again 
towards the window-curtain. 

' We are surely travelling at a dangerous velocity,' re- 
sumed the clerical gentleman, clearing his throat with a 
cough which recalled the platform of public meetings. ' The 
hazards of this life should be always present to sober-minded 
men. Now, my very excellent friend opposite concurs with 
me, no doubt, upon many topics, sees matters with my eyes, 
and probably with greater clear-sightedness ; and yet there 
is one topic upon which assuredly we look with different 
vision : my friend smiles, and I think he comprehends my 
meaning — yes, my dear friend, the question — the great and 
burning question — the vital, national, indeed, international 
question, I may say — of alcohol !' 

' To every man, what suits him, say I,' responded the 


ather, feeling once more for the spirit-flask. ' What suits 
me, sir, on a wet night, when I can't take exercise, is the 
old prescription out of Scotland — a wineglassful when you 
Eeel to want it.' 

' Ah, that widespread and too potent fallacy ! If we could 
only vanquish and expel, for ever and aye, the error which 
that argument disseminates, what a vast stride towards the 
precious victory, what a splendid benefit conferred upon 
civilization ! The globe, sir, would re-echo with one long 
sigh of glad relief ; for the extirpation of that single error 
would bring us promptly within sight of the goal.' 

' In the teetotal line, sir ?' 

The red-faced gentleman, as though unwilling to wound 
the susceptibilities of his neighbour, relinquished his search 
for the medical prescription which suited him. 

' A pioneer in the great cause,' assented the other. ' Let 
me offer you my card ; we may be companions for the rest 
of the journey, should you decide to cross to-night.' 

He produced a mother-of-pearl card-case, and with a 
deprecating gesture handed over a rather exaggerated 
oblong slip of pasteboard. 

'Bko. A. Neel, 

i. o. t. a; 

So ran the card. 

'I. O. T. A.?' repeated the person to whom it was handed. 

' International Organization of Total Abstainers,' an- 
swered Brother Neel sonorously. 

' Just think of that !' murmured his questioner, with a 
vague expression of alarm. ' Been going on long, sir, this 
international movement ?' 

' Not a great length of time, but we have already accom- 
plished results of an exceedingly encouraging kind.' He 
glanced at the card passed to him in exchange for his own. 
' All we need, Mr. Eemington, is activity in proselytising, 
and intelligent assistance from the rich. As fast as our 
funds permit it, we shall open a new branch in some 
Continental centre. At present we have half a dozen 
branch establishments on the Continent, the most im- 
portant of them being the branch at Paris. In fact, we 


make Paris our headquarters for the Continent. You 
are probably acquainted with our offices in that metro- 
polis ?' 

' No,' replied Mr. Eemington, his bloodshot eyes still 
fixed upon the initials of the international society. 

' Well, we intend to achieve great things. As a first 
measure, we attack the railway officials on the principal 
lines, the international services. "Attack" is my way of 
putting it, you know.' — Brother Neel endeavoured to look 
jocular as he threw in this parenthetical remark — ' And we 
have enlisted a fair proportion of them on this side, and at 
Brussels. We find that there are cases — especially the 
guards and engine-drivers — which tell admirably in our 
half-yearly reports. Wherever we extend our operations 
we find the public most willing to support our movement, 
and our agents write that they are zealously aided by the 
English colonies in all the Continental centres. People 
travel so generally nowadays, you see, sir. And how much 
woe and ruin may be wrought by one — but one, inebriated 
engine-driver ! And this was the reflection which occurred 
to me when I noticed the hazardous velocity with which 
we were travelling. Ah, my dear friend, I quarrel with no 
man's views ; I do not demand that my brother shall live as 
I live, but neither can I live as my brother lives — hourly 
conniving at suicide, moral and physical. Oh, cast the 
tempter from you — hurl away that accursed bottle, hurl it 
far away ! You will pardon me my earnestness, dear 

' Oh, I know the prescription that suits me !' said Mr. 
Eemington, with a gruff laugh, ' and you'll excuse me, sir, 
but when you get into the Channel you might feel to want 
a wine-glass of it yourself. Hark at the wind.' 

He lowered the window, and a keen gust at once swept 
through the compartment. The night was too dark for them 
to discern the few swaying trees along their route, but faint 
lights began to flit by, and presently the motion of the train 
became less rapid. ' Dover !' announced Mr. Eemington, 
in an unsteady voice. He ought to have experienced small 
need of any further recourse to the spirit-flask, but he took 
a final pull at it. If the oblique regard despatched at him 
by Brother Neel meant anything, it meant ' A wine-glass 
and a half, this time.' 


The night mail drew up at the Dover ticket-station. 

' There they are !' exclaimed Mr. Eemington, leaning out 
of the window. 'And they've got him ! There's a force of 
the local police waiting on the platform.' 

' Bless me !' responded Brother Neel, ' and so they've 
caught the thief ? Bless me !' He gazed at the other three 
passengers with surprise at their indifference. ' Twenty 
thousand pounds in precious stones, now ! Could we not 
catch a glimpse of the prisoner?' 

' The door's locked,' returned the other, somewhat ex- 
citedly, trying the handle. ' They'll have to pass this way, 
however, to leave the platform, and then you'll see him. 
Yes, here they come. They are not losing time, at any 
rate ! Just as I thought : it's Mr. Sinclair they've arrested. 

Well, but what does that mean who's that ?' He put 

his head in for a moment, and glanced at the passenger who 
had been the last to enter the compartment at the London 
terminus. ' There's a man in plain clothes directing the 
constables,' he added ; ' that must be the detective who was 
to come from London. They're making no noise about it, 
anyhow ! You'll see them march by.' 

A tramp of footsteps was heard on the drenched plat- 
form, and the helmets of the foremost constables could be 
seen from the interior of the compartment. 

' I'm sorry for you, Mr. Sinclair,' called the passenger 
who had recounted the story of the missing valuables. 
' You've been led away ; and I'm sorry for you.' 

' Oh, Eemington — is that you ?' answered a young man's 
voice, in firm and distinct tones. ' Well, they have arrested 
the wrong man, I can tell you !' 

' The wrong man !' echoed the other, looking after the 
constables, as the tramp of footsteps died away. ' Yes, 
they all say that.' 

Mr. Eemington had to make room for a ticket-inspector, 
who now appeared at the carriage-door and threw it open. 
The gentleman with the Eoman nose woke up at the same 
instant as placidly as he had slept. He produced a through 
ticket, like his four fellow-travellers. The official tore out 
the first leaf, ' London — Dover,' in each case, handed the 
little books back again, and vanished. 

' Going across to-night, sir ?' inquired Brother Neel of 
Mr- Eemington. 


' I hardly know, till we get down to the pier,' replied that 
individual, looking towards the sky, although there was 
nothing to be seen. ' Shall you cross to-night, sir ?' 

' I have not quite made my mind up,' answered Brother 
Neel, with a glance towards the carriage window, which, 
however, only reflected their own figures. 

A minute or two of cautious progress, and the train came 
to a standstill on Dover Pier. But no porters presented 
themselves to unfasten the doors. 

' 'Ere, let us out !' exclaimed the youthful gentleman in- 
side the ulster. It was his place that lay nearest to the 
platform at Dover Pier, and he let the glass down with a 
run, and peered out for the information of his companions. 
' There's something else up,' he remarked ; ' they're visiting 
all the carriages.' 

A guard, whose cap and overcoat were dripping with rain, 
suddenly made his appearance at the open window, scanned 
the five passengers hastily, prepared to pass on, and then 
checked himself. 

' Is there a passenger here from Scotland Yard ?' he asked, 
with some hesitation. 

No one replied. 

' A passenger here from Scotland Yard ?' he repeated, 
holding up the envelope of a telegram, which large drops 
of water had smeared and blotted. No one replied. 

' I beg pardon,' said Mr. Eemington hurriedly, to the 
person opposite, whose proceedings had inspired him with 
so deep an interest from the outset, ' but are you not the 
gentleman in question ?' 

' I ?' returned the other, speaking for the first time. 
' From Scotland Yard ? I ? What an idea, to be sure ! 
Certainly not.' 

The guard lingered at the entrance, gazing from one to 
the other. 

' My name is Pritchard,' continued the personage inter- 
rogated, ' and I am travelling through to the south of 
Prance. Pray let us take our places on the boat.' 

The official unlocked the door. As the five occupants of 
the compartment scrambled down the steps, they saw him 
visiting the next carriage to their own. 

' This way for the Calais boat ! — Ostend boat that way, 
eir ! — This wav for Calais — boat waiting !' 


Male and female voyagers, clad from head to foot in heavy 
cloaks and capes that protected them from the wet and cold, 
but impeded all their movements, struggled as best they 
could through the vehement wind and streaming rain. The 
lamps of the Pier Station lighted up their paths, as, ham- 
pered with packages, rugs, and shawls, they followed the 
directions of the railway servants posted about the platform 
for their guidance. Disconsolate comments in broken Eng- 
lish met the ear, mingled with staccato sounds in objurga- 
tory French. The passengers were not numerous. In the 
third week of December the traffic across the English 
Channel is usually excessive from the Continent to England, 
but slight from England to the Continent — the home, 
peculiarly, of Christmas festivities being Britain. ' This 
way for the Calais boat ! — take care, sir — take care, ma'am !' 
The stone steps down to the gangway of the vessel glistened 
in the scanty rays of two lanterns held by sailors. The 
gangway itself swung with the gentle rise and fall of the 
Channel boat ; it was pretty certain that the weather would 
be ' dirty ' outside the harbour. A black shroud, however, 
seemed to cover the whole scene beyond and to hide it from 
the view. One by one, with infinite precautions, the 
voyagers groped their way on board the Astarte. The last 
of the stumbling figures in Indian file appeared to be Mr. 
Pritchard, with the through-ticket for the south of France. 
No ; there was yet another : a gentleman who had at length 
arrived at a decision about making the passage that night — ■ 
Mr. Eemington. And one more form approached — this 
time, the last — at some little distance in his rear ; that of a 
gentleman who, likewise, had eventually been able to make 
his mind up — Brother A. Neel, of the I.O.T.A. 


The Astarte had received her mail bags and the passengers' 
luggage, and lay alongside the pier, gently rocking as if 
impatient to put out. The through-guard of the train was 
in conversation with the captain of the boat. 

' It put me in a difficulty." said he. ' How was I to find 
out the man they wanted ? The message to me asked for 


a reply at once, and so I wired back that there was no one 
from Scotland Yard among the passengers.' 

' Why didn't they name their man ?' inquired the Captain. 
' It seems a strange proceeding — unless — well, we never 
know : it might be a repetition of that affair.' 

' So I thought, for a moment. But it seemed more likely 
to be a mistake, or a piece of neglect. They must have 
meant the telegram for the plain-clothes man who came 
down from London, and who arrested this young fellow, 
Sinclair, at Dover town station. Or perhaps there were 
two plain-clothes men down by the train, travelling apart, 
and the telegram could be delivered to either of them. Well, 
I can't undertake to conduct their business for them. The 
message was addressed " Passenger from Scotland Yard," 
to my care, Dover — " Guard of Continental night mail, 
Dover station " — with a word to myself. I have just wired 
back that a plain-clothes man had apprehended a Mr. 
Sinclair on a charge of diamond robbery in the West End, 
and that I had sent their telegram after him by a messenger 
into the town. That's all I could do.' 

' Who identified this Mr. Sinclair?' 

' The butler of the house, who was waiting on the plat- 
form with the constables.' 

' Do you know what I think about it ?' demanded the 
captain, after a pause. ' It looks to me as- though they've 
sent down one of their big men after somebody, and above 
all wanted to keep his name quiet. Suppose that something 
happened after the train left, which it was most important 
he should know. How were they to communicate with him? 
They did not wish to disclose his name, we will say, because 
it would have handicapped him, especially if he were follow- 
ing clever people, or if he were "made-up" in any way. 
Shouldn't be at all surprised if I've hit it.' 

' No one came and asked if a telegram was waiting ; and 
I had to go and inquire in the compartments where the 
passengers looked at all likely people. It's pretty well 
known now that somebody else from Scotland Yard was 
believed to have run down by the night mail.' 

' They must have seen that at Scotland Yard in send- 
ing off the telegram ; but of the two evils no doubt they 
chose the less. Very likely their man was one of the pas- 
sengers you asked. Of course he would not acknowledge 


the telegram if he were watching Lis man ; he would risk 

' There are a good many " ifs " about that, captain; but 
we do see such rum things, you and me, going backwards 
and forwards, that I dare say you are not altogether far out. 
But, now you mention it, how do we know that the message 
came from the Scotland Yard authorities at all ? Suppose 
a gang of criminals know that one of their number is being 
followed by one of the best men from Scotland Yard ; what 
is to hinder them from wiring to the detective, in the name 
of his superiors, to stop him at Dover, and so enable their 
own man to get away with whatever he has got about 
him ? The one envelope was inside the other ; and I 
only know the words of the message to myself as through- 

' It might be as you suggest ; only, in that case, your reply 
would not have been arranged for ?' 

' Not as a blind ?' 

' By Jove,' said the captain, after shouting an order to 
the engine-room, ' I should like to know what the business 
really is. For all we can tell they may be tracking American 
dynamiters ! So long as they don't blow my boat up, I 
don't care.' 

' How's the sea outside ?' 

' Bad !' 

Everything on board was now tight and water-proof. 
The captain nodded to the guard, uttered another direction, 
and ascended to a more elevated post. The joints of the 
shining machinery slid round, and the Astarte gave two or 
three preliminary throbs. 

' Off at last,' muttered to a companion one of the few 
passengers who had remained on deck, ' we're twenty 
minutes behind time.' 

He was enveloped in a mackintosh which fell almost to 
his feet. The collar, turned up, rose over his ears, and the 
cloth-cap he wore, furnished with lappets and a broad peak, 
completely hid the upper portion of his features. His com- 
panion was a much shorter gentleman, and underneath the 
broad brim, pulled downwards, of a soft felt-hat, it was 
impossible to distinguish his head. Perched on the summit 
of a roomy upright ulster, the soft felt-hat looked as though 
it crowned a tailor's effigy, of the kind which, with tickets 


suspended from their necks, grin at us from the plate-glass 
establishments of the cheap clothier. A casual observer 
would not have supposed these two persons to be acquain- 
tances. In spite, however, of their attitude towards each 
other — the attitude of strangers — they presently exchanged 
observations in extremely low tones. 

' Are you sure he's on board ?' asked the taller of the two 
anxiously. ' I was too much occupied with my man to be 
able to look after him. Are you quite sure ?' 

' Certain,' murmured the other. ' I watched him go 
downstairs into the cabin, and take a berth.' 

' Well, you had better go down, too, Bat, and keep an 
eye on him. Change some money with the steward at the 
same time. We shall want some French money on the 

' Go down ! — not me ! The " tec " may have slipped you, 
and gone down himself. I don't want him to know me by 
sight as well as I know him — what do you think ! Suppose 
I just went into the lion's den at once, without making any 

more fuss about it ? Not me ! — It's awful, up here — 

but you don't catch Bartholomew walking into the arms of 
Morpheus — no, sir ! It would be like stepping into the Old 
Bailey dock right off. Not me, Mr. Wilkins !' 

' I tell you I've not lost sight of the detective. He is in 
one of the private cabins — the last on this side. I'll watch 
him till we get to Calais. You had better go down, and see 
what our man is doing — whether he is drinking. Some one 
else maybe after it. We ought to get half an hour at Calais. 
Come to my table in the station-restaurant. — Why, what are 
you afraid of ? There's nothing against you.' 

' No, but there soon maybe.' The speaker reeled against 
the bulwarks, as the Astarte, rounding the harbour entrance, 
encountered the first of her foaming assailants, and lurched 
with the shock. He grasped a rope to save himself from 
falling. ' Come, you had better go downstairs, Bat,' re- 
peated his companion, who, though apparently the better 
sailor, held on perforce to the same rope for a moment. 

The Astarte made straight for the white ridge of a black 
mass opposed to her. There was a loud crash, and over 
the deck flew an invisible shower of salt, ice-cold spray. 
The Astarte left the dim, white ridge behind her, and the 
black mass rolled sullenly away ; and then she sank, dread- 


fully down — down — into a yawning furrow, where for an 
instant she stood quite still, as if to collect her energies for 
another such antagonist. 

' Perhaps you re right, Sir John,' said Mr. Bartholomew 
faintly ; ' I could do with a drop of brandy from the steward.' 

The two figures parted, the sack-like ulster steering an 
erratic but precipitate course in the direction of the cabin 

Sir John continued hardily at his post. The breaking 
surf and howling wind appeared to disturb him less than the 
occasional approach of a surprised seaman. As the Astarte 
drove upon her way, the marine birds riding exultantly on 
the waves would fly up in front of her and dart across the 
deck, or swoop along the vessel from stem to stern, cleaving 
the gale with their muscular, forked wings. 

On the lugubrious, indeed pathetic, scene below, it would 
be both undesirable and invidious to enlarge. When the 
limp felt-hat and draggling ulster had climbed to the foot of 
the brass-edged stairs, and forced an entrance into the cabin, 
there was no mirth at the piteous mien of the youth upon 
whose insufficient frame those articles hung. The steward 
and his assistant were too busy to attend to him at once. 
The necessary fluid, however, procured and gulped down, 
and consciousness having been partially recovered, Mr. 
Bartholomew addressed himself to a review of the company 
around him. A callous, jesting personage, presumably a 
commercial traveller, sat at the table in the centre, with 
some cold boiled beef before him, and a bottle of stout, and 
with a London evening newspaper propped up against a loaf 
of bread. The Astarte plunged and recoiled, sluvered and 
righted herself, and at times it might have seemed to the 
dispirited voyagers that the Phoenician goddess of the moon 
would brusquely dive with them into the very bowels of the 

Mr. Bartholomew, scrutinising one after another the re- 
cumbent forms, allowed his eye to rest for a moment on the 
inflamed visage of Mr. Eemington. That gentleman was 
ensconced in an easy-chair, at the raised extremity of the 
cabin. He, too, had been examining the company from 
his point of observation, and his gaze met the cautious glance 
directed towards him by the new arrival. Both countenances 
immediately assumed a bland expression of unconcern, and 


each proceeded with the apparently interrupted survey of 
his neighbours. 

' Anything in the paper, sir, about the diamond robbery in 
the West End they were talking about at Dover ?' asked the 
steward, as he rested from his labours. ' There was quite a 
to-do down at the station. A ticket inspector told me that 
the police took the thief directly the mail touched the 
town platform.' 

' Not a word about it,' replied the commercial traveller, 
carving the cold boiled beef ; ' the whole thing must have 
been kept precious quiet. Sometimes that is the best way ; 
and if they have really put their hands on the right man the 
Scotland Yard people have done the trick, this time, about 
as neatly as you could wish to see.' 

' Smart work,' said the other. ' I heard there was 
twenty thousand pounds' worth of valuables. Do you 
suppose he had the diamonds about him, sir '?' 

' I suppose so. I suppose that was one of the reasons 
why he was making for the Continent. However, they'll 
find that out when they search him at the lock-up. It 
seems he had no luggage in the van — nothing but a port- 
manteau which he kept with him in the carriage. They 
ought to have concluded the search by this time.' He 
looked at his watch. ' I wonder whether they were family 
jewels — necklaces, bracelets, and so forth — or whether they 
were loose stones ! That makes a deuce of a difference, you 
know ; people always exaggerate the value of their own 
family jewels ; but there's this about brilliants set in 
precious metal of some design or other — you can trace them 
if you don't let too much time slip by.' 

' So you can, sir ; whereas loose stones -' 

' Whereas, how can you identify loose stones ? You may 
have one or two of exceptional size, and those you may be 
able to swear to, though I shouldn't like to risk it myself, 
even then, not being a diamond-cutter or polisher, or an 
expert. But take a few loose brilliants of the average size ; 
how are you to identify them if they have passed out of 
your possession for a day or two ? Here are two rings that 
I've worn, one for ten, the other for fifteen years. This one 
looks very well, doesn't it ? It's set with " roses," and I've 
had it for fifteen or sixteen years ; well, it's not worth very 
much. This other — see how beautifully the diamond is cut, 



and it's a deep stone — I've been -wearing constantly for 
certainly ten years. I could identify that ring, as it stands, 
amongst a thousand, and it's worth some money. But take 
the stone out of the setting, tell me it has been put with 
others of the same size, and bring it back to me — I wouldn't 
like to swear to its identity. Very likely I couldn't pick it 
out from half a dozen other loose stones, cut in the same 
shape, or thereabouts.' 

' I've often noticed that ring, sir, when you've been cross- 
ing by the boat. Don't you think it might be a temptation 
to dishonest parties ?' 

' Oh, nothing has ever happened to me. And I shouldn't 
advise anybody to try it on ; I don't travel unarmed.' The 
commercial traveller was a man of powerful build, and he 
laughed boisterously. ' Talking about diamonds reminds 
me,' he went on, ' of a friend of mine, a brother " com- 
mercial," who used to travel in the diamond trade between 
Amsterdam and the United States. There was a tremendous 
duty on diamonds going into the States, and my friend, who 
was an Englishman, used to be always trying to get some 
through the Custom House free of duty. So long as his 
firm would let him bribe, he was pretty successful, but the 
bribes began to mount up to almost as much as the duty, 
and they found out there was no satisfying those 
fellows out there. The firm stopped the bribes, and after 
that they regularly persecuted him, out there, whenever he 
landed. Well, he rather liked this for a time, but human 
nature could not stand the life they led him, and in the end 
he gave up the business. What I am coming to is the last 
thing he did. He had brought a valuable consignment from 
Amsterdam. The Custom House people felt convinced he 
was declaring much too small a quantity, and so he was. 
They ransacked his luggage, tested the sides of his trunks, 
made him open secret compartments, and tried the lining of 
his clothes, but all in vain. At last, with one of their 
apologies, they required him to partly undress, to see 
whether he was not carrying a diamond-belt. He expostu- 
lated, and wanted to resist, but they begged him to take 
into consideration his past successes. He yielded, and they 
could find nothing. But he had a strengthening plaster 
across his shoulders, and one of the officials noticed the 
corner of it beneath his vest. "Hold on," says he, 'I 


guess we've not done yet." They tested the surface, and 
sure enough between the plaster and his shoulders were the 
little protuberances they had suspected. They got the 
plaster off with hot water, put it away with the stones 
underneath, and took his address for summoning him at the 
police court on the charge of defrauding the revenue. 
The summons never came on, however. On examining the 
stones they had seized, the officials discovered that they 
were all imitation.' 

' And where had he put the real ones, then ?' 

' The genuine stones were closely packed in a large old- 
fashioned silver watch — or, rather, what looked like it — 
which he carried carelessly with a common watch-guard. 
But, of course, he did not keep them long in his possession.' 

' Well, well, well !' exclaimed the steward, admiringly. 

Again the glances of Mr. Eemington and our young friend 
Bartholomew met, and were instantly averted. A vague 
sort of mutual cognisance appeared thenceforward to exist 
between them — a cognisance betrayed by, as much as any- 
thing, a distinct effort on either side to abstain from observa- 
tion of the other. Interminable seemed the rumbling of the 
vessel, together with the thundering of the surge against 
her sides. Amidst the most dolent of manifestations, the 
steward adjusted a pair of spectacles, and took up the 
evening paper for his own perusal. 

A mariner in a suit of tarpaulins came down the staircase, 
and imbibed something at the counter, 

' Are we far off?' 

' Just there, sir.' 

' Thank goodness !' 

' Dieu merci !' 

' What a beastly crossing !' 

' Ah, monsimr, quelle tracarsee !' 

Ten or twelve minutes afterwards the crashing gradually 
died away. The Astarte neared the shore — the coast of 
France. Overhead, a great clattering became audible ; and 
within the cabin, several of the experienced passengers pre- 
pared to gather up their hand-packages. 

' Long coming over ?' inquired one of his neighbour. 

1 Two hours and a quarter,' was the reply ; 'but what can 
you expect in weather like this ? It will be worse to-morrow.' 

Clambering up the gangway to the top of the pier, the 



voyagers had no sooner passed the ticket-inspectors — simul- 
taneously clutching their hand-packages, clasping their hats, 
and producing their tickets — than they found themselves 
besieged by the bands of loafers, who, even between mid- 
night and 1 a.m., obstruct the distressed Channel navigator, 
accost him with cries of ' Portaire,' and endeavour to wrest 
from him his phantom hand-bag or attenuated portmanteau. 
Master Bartholomew entered the spacious refreshment-room 
in the centre of a group, They were the latest arrivals, 
and, after a second's hesitation, he carelessly shaped his 
path towards an almost unnoticeable table at which a single 
person had just installed himself. Master Bartholomew 
dropped into the vacant place opposite. 

' How do you feel ?' asked the other, without looking 
at him. It was the Mr. Pritchard who was bound for the 
south of France. He neither lifted his eyes from the wine- 
list, nor moved his lips as he spoke. 

' Feel ?' responded Bartholomew feebly. ' This is a nice 
business old Clements has sent me after. Why couldn't he 
come after it himself ! You could have done it between j^ou, 
and I'm sure I needn't come so far as this, and go through 
so much, to find a good piece of work. If he hadn't paid 
all my expenses, and guaranteed me something handsome 

when it's all over, I'm if I should have stirred a step ! 

I've been over to Chantilly races and the Grand Prix of 
Paris, to pick up some of the winners, but I never came 
over before at this time of the year. 'Ere, waiter ! — gassong ! 
— give me a small bottle of brandy — what do they call it?— 
connyac! I'll show them how to speak French! Let's 
hope we do get something for our trouble, Sir John.' 

' Keep your voice down — and don't appear to be saying 
much to me. Is your man here ?' 

' Here ? Yes, I should think he was here — and drinking 
enough for you and me and him together ! Makes me 
thirsty to look at him — unless he's only pretending to drink. 
He's just over there — don't you see? — but there's some- 
thing I don't like about it. Looks to me as though he's 
" tumbled." See him ? — there ! — he had his eye on both of 
us. Where's your man ?' 

' Don't know,' replied the other rapidly, attacking the 
comestible deposited before him. ' Watched the private 
cabin as long as I could without attracting attention, but 


ho never came out of it that I could see. "Wonder whether 
he knows anything ! Oh, he's a clever gentleman, that one 
is — equal to all the rest of them at Scotland Yard put 
together ! He's a clever gentleman.' 

' He's Al at the game, and no mistake,' answered Bar- 
tholomew impartially. 

' So much the worse for us.' 

' Oh, I don't know ! He may be as clever as you, Sir 
John — perhaps cleverer — and he may be cleverer than me, 
but he ain't more clever than you and me combined, with 
Grandpa' thrown in. If we bring it off, and Grandpa' 
meets us at the station, as old Clements arranged, it'll be 
all right.' 

' It'll have to be all right. They had better not give us 
any trouble, because they are not in England here.' 

' No ; and we ain't in England either. Don't you be in 
a hurry over it now. If we miss it to-day we'll get it to- 
morrow. And, mind, no putting anybody out in this ! I 
told old Clements I wouldn't be in any putting-out business, 
and that wouldn't suit his book either. Where's that 
connyac ?' 

There seemed less than ever of Mr. Bartholomew in the 
roomy ulster and the soft felt hat. No regard for his per- 
sonal appearance, however, troubled him. With a zest at 
least equal to that of his companion, he fell-to upon the 
regulation Calais restaurant dish of succulent roast fowl. 
They were both thus engaged silently when the through 
guard of the train approached Mr. Pritchard, or ' Sir John,' 
and touched him on the shoulder. Mr. Pritchard did not 
start, and did not look up ; but he suddenly left off eating, 
and turned rather pale. The guard then bent down to him 
and whispered confidentially. 

' Beg pardon, sir,' said he, ' but if you are the passenger 
from Scotland Yard, as that gentleman fancied, here's 
another telegram from London. I wired to them from 
Dover, and this is a reply to my message — a further tele- 
gram, sent on to Calais, " Care of through guard, night 
mail." The message to me here says they don't mean the 
plain-clothes man who stopped at Dover, and I am to try 
and deliver this at once. No one else has seen the telegram, 
sir, because, from what that gentleman said, I thought per- 
haps it might be you.' 


Below the level of the table, out of the general view, he 
held the blue envelope of the French telegraph office. 

Mr. Pritchard cast a rapid glance around him ; and young 
Mr. Bartholomew considerately rose from his seat to pro- 
cure himself a roll of bread from the adjacent buffet. 

' Well, yes,' replied Mr. Pritchard in an undertone, ' I am 
from Scotland Yard, and the telegram must be something 
urgent for me. I'm on a difficult affair — keep it quiet who 
I am — they'll make it right with you at head-quarters for 
the trouble you have been put to. When do you make the 
return journey ?' 

' By the next night-mail from Paris,' answered the guard, 
unconsciously imitating the quick, subdued utterance of his 

' Present yourself at head-quarters as soon after your 
return as you like. But keep away from me, or you'll spoil 
my game.' 

' Beg pardon — the same case ? — Park Laue ?' 

' Et caetera.' 

As the guard discreetly sidled away, Mr. Bartholomew re- 
joined his companion, and they continued their repast for a 
minute in silence. 

' Can't you open that envelope, Jack ?' at length de- 
manded Mr. Bartholomew impatiently. 

' When I get a chance, I can,' said the other. ' Now, 
then — follow your man ! — there he goes. I'll settle the 

Mr, Eemington, who had very deliberately quitted a 
table at some distance from them, now lounged in the 
direction of the doors with a somewhat unnecessary show 
of nonchalance. He had scarcely crossed the threshold 
when Mr. Bartholomew, whose expression of face had be- 
come quite wondering and artless — the natural timidity of 
unprotected, diffident youth, bewildered by unfamiliar sur- 
roundings in a foreign land — slipped the half-empty bottle 
of ' connyac ' into a recess of the drooping ulster, and saun- 
tered likewise towards the restaurant entrance. 

'En voiture four Paris! En voiture, les royagcurs !' 
intoned one of the French railway servants. The summons 
created the usual bustle among the passengers. Profiting 
by the opportunity, Mr. Pritchard deftly tore open the en- 
velope and surreptitiously perused its contents. 


' This is second message to you en route,' ran the de- 
spatch. ' Have wired Toppin, our man in Paris, to meet 
your train, and act under your directions. Look out well 
on the road. Ernest Vine, alias Grainger, alias Jack 
Smith (Golden Square case, two years ago), and Bar- 
tholomew Finch, alias Walker, West End pickpocket, left 
by night mail with tickets for Cannes. Eeason to believe 
they are on business. Find them out if possible and don't 
lose them. One of Soho gang is watching your house. 
Yourself supposed to be in London; we have thought it 
best to wire you in this way, trusting to guard's discretion.. 
You are nominally told off for London duty ' 

' En voiture pour Paris !' The passengers hurried towards 
the platform. 


The train for Paris was drawn up on the far line of rails, 
and Mr. Remington, surveying the carriages, halted on the 
edge of the platform, to avail himself of the shelter, over- 
head, from the pouring rain. As he stood thus, apparently 
engrossed with the selection of a suitable compartment, 
two or three fellow-travellers passed him, opened their um- 
brellas, and stepped out briskly across the metals, and through 
the pools of water, in search of the corners in which they had 
deposited their hand-packages. Mr. Remington scanned each 
figure that moved by him, and did not seem to have secured 
his own place in advance. En voitu-ure ! He threw a search- 
ing look on all sides, and strode from the edge of the platform 
on to the iron way. He had not noticed an individual who 
was studying in a very bad light a pictorial map of France. 
Mr. Remington exhibited no little fastidiousness in the 
choice of a compartment. Did he wish to travel alone, or 
was it the difficulty of lighting upon a well-filled compart- 
ment, that embarrassed him? On a long night journey it 
might be desirable to make one of a numerous company. 
That, however, was just the condition which it appeared 
impossible to realize. The passengers were not numerous, 
and there was no lack of empty compartments. But in the 
first endeavour which he made to secure a single place in a 
row of occupied seats, he apparently discovered some per- 


sonage whom he was seeking to avoid ; whilst in a second 
essay he saw that the allotted number was already com- 
plete. From identical reasons, doubtless, others among 
the passengers had preferred to travel in a numerous com- 
pany. A couple of porters pushed by him wheeling a 
truck. They had done their portion of the labours involved 
by the arrival of the night-mail, and were diverting them- 
selves, as they trudged along, at the expense of certain 
voyagers whose sorry plight had attracted their notice. 
Mr. Bemington's indecision proved sufficiently manifest to 
excite the remark of these facile satirists. They commented 
on it in the usual vein of the French working man, one of 
whose characteristics is a total incapacity to attend ex- 
clusively to his own occupation. 

' Is he slow, hein, that clumsy Englishman !' ' The rest 
of them will be in Paris by the time he has made his mind 
up.' ' Paris can get on without him, allez ! Let him stay 
here, and pay us a glass each ; we're good enough society 
for him, I should think — a pair of honest Eepublicans, and 
thirsty !' ' What ! Isn't this moisture sufficient for you — 
a night like this ?' ' Ah, ouate ! The more water there is, 
the more liquor you want to make it palatable. Pay me 
half a pint, and I'll be godfather to your next.' ' Farceur, va!' 

Mounting hastily the steps of a carriage in response to a 
further summons from the railway officials, Mr. Bemington 
found himself face to face with Brother A. Neel, of the 

' Aha !' exclaimed the latter cordially, ' fellow-travellers, 
after all, sir ! I did not see you on the boat, and thought 
you might have decided to stay the night at Dover.' 

' Well, I made up my mind to come on at once,' replied 
the other, to all appearance satisfied with his companion. 
' I shall get back the sooner. We are more than five hours 
from Paris, and I can sleep better travelling at night than 
in the daytime.' 

' In that, you are like myself,' said the firbt, pleasantly. 

Another passenger ascended the steps, and took a place 
with them. It was Bartholomew Finch, alias Walker. 
Behind him came a French official, who demanded their 
tickets : ' Paris — Paris — Paris— bien !' The official swung 
on one side, slammed the door, and passed along the step 
to the neighbouring compartments. 


• They don't lock the doors, I observe !' said Brother 

' No ; they just let down a latch outside, below the 
handle. That secures the door, without imprisoning the 

' All that's necessary — and more convenient,' remarked 
Brother Neel. 

The engine emitted a despondent squeal, and coughed 
asthmatically. Its bronchial tubes had obviously suffered 
from exposure to severe weather. Once on the high road 
to Boulogne, however, there was no fault to be found 
with its notion of express speed. 

' Been this way many times before, sir ?' inquired Mr. 

' On business of the " Iota " T usually make the journey 
by this line,' replied Brother Neel effusively. '"Iota?" — 
ah, yes, I forgot you were not one of us ; that is our familiar 
appellation, our pet name, I may say, for the Order in which 
we are enrolled — International Organization of Total Ab- 
stainers ; don't you see ? — an easy abbreviation, which forms 
at the same time a sort of affectionate sobriquet, don't you 
know ! one of those endearing nicknames which are so 
often met with among the members of harmonious families. 
And what is our great, our noble Order, but a family upon 
the widest, the most humanitarian scale ! The administra- 
tive affairs of the " Iota " do occasionally require my attend- 
ance at the Paris branch. But that is not the motive of my 
present visit. No ; there are certain special aspects of the 
drink traffic, in the French metropolis, which are capable of 
emphatically illustrating and enforcing the truths of our 
great cause, and which for our purposes have never yet 
been adequately studied. I have a mission to collect 
material on those aspects of the drink traffic, for our 
lectures and pamphlets and public demonstrations. Ah, 
this is a weighty, a colossal question, sir, it is indeed ! 
Think of the correlation between alcoholism and crime ! I 
wish — I wish I could induce you to enrol yourself in our 
valiant army.' 

' Very sorry, sir ; but it wouldn't suit my constitution ! Let 
those do it whom it suits. I don't complain, and I don't 
want to interfere with them.' 

' Dear me — dear me ! — what a sad and dangerous, what a 


terrible and infinitely perilous frame of mind! I would 
wager, now, that the unfortunate young man whose appre- 
hension we witnessed at Dover was addicted, now, to the 
use of alcohol. I would wager it ! When shall we rend 
our fetters, and free ourselves from this gigantic incubus, 
which is oppressing the heart's blood of civilization, over- 
shadowing its mighty pulses, and trailing in the dust and 
mire the snow-white name of Christianity ?' 

The tumultuous imagery of Brother Neel's rhetorical 
enthusiasm appeared to extinguish what powers of rejoinder 
lay at the disposal of Mr. Eemington. Their only com- 
panion in the compartment began to nod, as though he had 
dropped off into a doze. Mr. Eemington eyed him sharply, 
and presently allowed his own lids to fall. Brother Neel 
stared vaguely at the notices in three languages which ap- 
prised the isolated and imperilled traveller of the means 
provided to him for ensuring his personal safety, and which 
likewise threatened him with penalties for making use of 
them. The temperance lecturer moved his lips now and 
then, raised his eyebrows, frowned, and slightly tossed his 
head, as though he were again rehearsing perorations. 
Thus they ran on till they reached Boulogne, the first of 
the four stoppages on their road to Paris. They might have 
counted upon remaining undisturbed throughout the journey ; 
but Mr. Eemington, who had got up to consult his time-table 
by the light of a station lamp, was obliged to give way to 
allow ingress to a new-comer, It was Ernest Vine, alias 
Grainger, alias, again, Mr. Pritchard. 

The night-mail sped out of Boulogne-sur-Mer and turned 
inland, leaving for good the sand-hills of the coast. Its 
next destination was Abbeville ; but in spite of the con- 
siderable distance to be traversed, Mr. Eemington's faculty 
for sleeping in night journeys by the train seemed to have 
deserted him. His thoughts were evidently as much ab- 
sorbed as ever by the personality of Mr. Pritchard. His 
eyes resumed their restless examination of the hawk-like 
countenance which, this time at any rate, faced, not him- 
self, but another of the travellers — the undersized tenant 
of the ample ulster. The new-comer had sunk unobtru- 
sively into his place, just as he did at the outset of the 
journey. The cane which he deposited in the rack, above 
his head, had decidedly the aspect of a sword-stick; the 


small black bag upon his knees might have held conveniently 
a pair of handcuffs and a revolver ; it seemed almost a pity 
that he was Mr. Pritchard, bound for the south of France, and 
not, as the observer had too readily suspected, the passenger 
from Scotland Yard. Mr. Eemington drew forth his pocket- 
flask, and took a plentiful draught. 

' Abbeville !' shouted a porter, as they ran into a dismal 
station, hardly anything of which was visible in the dark- 
ness of the night. ' Abbeville, Abbeville !' echoed faintly 
down the platform. The train came to a standstill; Mr. 
Eemington folded his rug over one arm ; and in another 
moment the door was hanging open, and there were only 
three passengers in the compartment. The celerity with 
which he had accomplished this exit was remarkable in a 
gentleman of his size. With an almost equal celerity, how- 
ever, Brother Neel stepped out after him. The temperance 
lecturer had, indeed, hesitated an instant, but a glance at 
the two travelling companions who were left to him ap- 
parently sufficed to lead him to a prompt decision. 

When Brother Neel alighted on the Abbeville platform 
the French guard was already signalling the train onwards. 
He made for the only other carriage-door which hung open, 
and found himself again alone with Mr. Eemington. The 
night-mail dashed away in the direction of Amiens. 

' I did not like the look of those men,' said Mr. Eeming- 
ton, somewhat embarrassed. 

' Nor did I myself, I am bound to confess,' replied Brother 
Neel ; ' and I thought I would follow your example. One 
may be doing them an injustice ; but — well, there ! I did 
not like their look.' 

' Not that I ever make these long journeys with large 
sums of money about me. I buy in rather extensive 
quantities, but I always pay my dealers in Paris by draft 
on an English banking-house which has a Paris branch. 
I never travel with much more than the small change 
absolutely necessary. In fact, I lost over the last trans- 
action in the Paris market, and trade has been so bad 
that I had thought it hardly worth while coming over to 

' Dear me ! And do they consider this line to the North 
at all insecure ? I mean — the cases of outrage, and so 
forth, on the French railway systems — the cases we have 


read of in the public press : are they associated, now, with 
this line at all ?' 

' The Northern line ? Oh, no. I should say that the 
southern and eastern railways of France are more danger- 
ous, but there was a mysterious case some time ago on a 
western line ; it was never cleared up.' 

' A case of ?' 

' Murder !' 

' Bless me — now, really ! Well, well. It would not in 
the least surprise me if that Mr. Pritchard, as he calls him- 
self, were a detective-officer after all, though I don't know 
why he should deny it. But those men love to make a 
little mystery ; it attracts attention to them, flatters their 
vanity, and makes them appear important even when they 
have achieved nothing.' 

' You seem to know them, sir,' said Mr. Eemington, with 
a smile. 

' Oh, very slightly, very slightly, I assure you. But one 
of our dear friends — not a colleague in the I.O.T.A., but a 
brother lecturer in the temperance cause, a worthy, dear 
friend, he was, and an able — almost fell a victim some few 
years ago to the malice and obstinacy of one of these men, 
and none of us, I am sure, are ever likely to forget the 
event. For my part, I must say that I regard the com- 
panionship of detective-officers as little less compromising 
than that of criminals. Who knows where detectives have 
sprung from ? They do say that ex-thieves make the very 
best thief-takers. Imagine honest people at the mercy of 
an ex-criminal ! The painful case of my worthy dear friend 
inspired me with an aversion for the entire class, although 
there are members of the detective force enrolled in our 

' Well, if that man isn't from Scotland Yard I'm greatly 
mistaken. He has quite the cut of it ; and they go wrong 
so often — as in the case you speak of — that I am glad to be 
out of his company.' 

The conversation drifted into general topics. While thus 
engaged they were both startled momentarily by the sudden 
appearance of a head at the window. 

' Oh, the ticket-inspector, of course !' exclaimed Mr. 
Eemington, laughing jovially. 

' What — once more?' said Brother Neel. 


' The last time on the journey,' explained the other. 

The inspection of the tickets was performed as usual by 
the French guard of the train, who passed from compart- 
ment to compartment, opening the doors easily and closing 
them again quietly, as the mail rushed at its fastest rate 
towards Paris. Brother Neel remarked upon the possible 
danger of this operation, on a night, as he said with striking 
originality, 'dark as Erebus;' but Mr. Eemington assured 
him that the process was the simplest thing in the world, 
and that there were details in the construction of the 
carriages which expressly facilitated it. 

' What other stoppages lay before us ?' asked the temper- 
ance lecturer. 

' Two more, between this and Paris,' replied his com- 
panion, ' Amiens and Creil. At Amiens we get from five to 
fifteen minutes, according to the time of the train, and 
we're late to-night, or rather this morning. At Creil we 
only touch.' 

Mr. Eemington forthwith disposed himself comfortably 
for a nap. Brusquely opening his eyes after a silence of 
ten or twelve minutes, he found his travelling companion so 
intently observing him that he became all at once wide 
awake again. Was it curiosity, calculation — or what — 
that he read for an instant, an instant only, in the square 
face opposite him ? Brother Neel met his anxious and 
surprised scrutiny with the air of bland attention which 
appeared to be his professional manner. Mr. Eeming- 
ton changed his position, and did not again close his 

They ran into the spacious Amiens station. ' Just time 
to cross to the buffet,' muttered Mr. Eemington, after listen- 
ing to the announcement of the porters. He descended from 
the carriage, but did not cross to the buffet. He loitered 
on the platform for a moment, and then proceeded to a 
different carriage altogether. The fresh compartment he 
chose, however, appeared to have been selected by other 
people, also desirous of seeking other places. Mr. Pritchard, 
Banked by Bartholomew Finch, alias Walker, clambered up 
the step, and deliberately took the two corner seats at the 
entrance. Calling to a railway official that he had mis- 
taken his compartment, Mr. Eemington had just time to 
descend again, and grasp the handle of a neighbouring 


door. The official grumbled at him in his native tongue, 
and helped him up as the train began to move. 

' It's no go till we get there,' pronounced one of the two 
persons he had so promptly deserted, Mr. Finch, videlicet — 
' he has " tumbled " to something — that's sure !' 

' He can " tumble " to what he likes, now,' responded 
the other. ' I'm going to get it before I leave this train.' 

' 'Ere — mind what I said,' urged Mr. Finch; ' no putting 
him out !' 

' No putting him out ? Well, how do you think we are 
going to get it?' savagely retorted Vine, alias Grainger, 
speaking nevertheless in a very low tone. ' Do you suppose 
he's going to put his hand into his pocket and pull out a 
velvet case with £20,000 worth in it, and pass it over '?' 

' Well, you can wait a few hours, or a day or so, can't 
you? Anyhow, I won't be in this if there's to be any put- 

' Perhaps you'd like to wait until the property has gone 
out of his possession, and they have all three of them shared 
the money? Perhaps you'd like to pick his pocket nice 
and comfortably, and get his purse with a ten-pound note 
in it, instead of the small fortune Clements promised? 
There are three of them in this, and it's as clear as day. 
The secretary hangs about the house in Park Lane shortly 
before the night of the robbery. The robbery takes place, 
and the secretary goes away in a suspicious manner. The 
other two then put the police on him ; the butler pretends 
to have reasons for believing that Sinclair means to go by 
Dover to the Continent ; they send him down in the morn- 
ing, and he waits for the arrival of the train with the plain- 
clothes man who has followed Sinclair in the hope of drop- 
ping across confederates. At Dover, he identifies the 
secretary, and the police make the arrest. Of course the 
secretary has been searched by this time, and they've not 
found anything ; and, of course, as to the robbery in Park 
Lane, he'll have a perfect alibi. By the time Sinclair had 
been released, in default of evidence, the property was to 
have been got rid of ; and this is the man who was to have 
got rid of it. I thought at first that this man and the 
butler were doing it between them, but I see all three are 
in it. Wait a few hours ! And what about Byde — what 
chance should we have when we get to Paris ? There's a 


man I trill put oat some day, if he causes me much trouble 
- — Mr. Inspector Byde ! He hasn't recognised either you 
or me, but it was a lucky thing I got that telegram. It isn't 
the first time I've been taken for a detective, but it's the 
first time I said I wasn't one. We shall have to look sharp 
about getting out of the Paris station. If Byers isn't there 
to meet us we must get away without him.' 

' Grandpa's certain to be there, if he said he would. 
What is the other place we stop at ?' 

' Creil,' answered the pseudo Mr. Pritchard, referring to a 
small train bill ; ' and after Creil there is a clear run of fifty 
minutes to Paris. We must do it between Creil and Paris.' 

The night-mail had not altogether made up its arrear 
when it emerged from the darkness enveloping the entrance 
to the northern terminus at Paris, and placidly stole into the 
feebly-lighted station. Beyond the barrier, where the rail- 
way servants posted themselves for collecting the tickets, 
there was the customary assemblage, even at that early 
hour, of persons awaiting the arrival of their friends. The 
few passengers descended gladly enough, and straggled 
along the platform towards the ticket-gates. The sup- 
posititious Mr. Pritchard passed through among the first. 
Not far behind him came Mr. Pinch in one of the folds of 
his flapping ulster ; and then followed a knot of dazed 
voyagers, confused with the abrupt change, but making 
blindly for the nearest exit. After these marched Brother 
Neel, erect and deliberate, not to say portentous, but pale 
from the fatigues of travelling. The railway officials 
lingered at their posts for a few seconds, and then, one 
after the other, closed the gates of the slight barrier. All 
the voyagers had evidently passed through. Mr. Eemington, 
however, had not been one of the voyagers who had passed 


Aho^g the persons assembled at the Nord terminus, to 
meet the passengers by the overnight London mail, there 
was a rather tall, fairly good-looking young man, 'of de- 
cidedly British aspect, who, instead of joining the group 
just outside the barrier, had preferred to remain within the 


spacious but barn-like waiting-room, from whose glass par- 
tition he could easily survey the arrivals, without being 
distinctly seen himself. From the point at which he was 
placed, the end ticket-collector stood almost within arm's 
reach, although, of course, they were separated by the 
partition. The lamps which aided the collectors in their 
work, facilitated the scrutiny directed by this sturdily-built 
young man upon the faces of the voyagers, as the latter 
approached, delivered their tickets, and filed past. So 
absorbed was he by his occupation, that he did not perceive 
a trifling incident of which the waiting-room was the scene, 
and in which he himself appeared to play an unconscious 
part. Had he been free to observe that incident, he might, 
no doubt, have deemed it worthy of attention, slight though 
it seemed. An elderly gentleman who had come up in great 
haste, as if in fear of arriving too late for the passengers by 
the train, was hurrying across the waiting-room, when he 
caught sight of the solitary watchman at the glass partition. 
The elderly gentleman immediately pulled up short, and 
retraced his steps with redoubled speed. Turning to the 
left, he trotted into the station courtyard, where the cabs 
and luggage-omnibuses were beginning to bestir themselves, 
and, veering again to the left, he got to the outer doors 
as the first of the departing travellers passed through 
the hands of the revenue officials. The latter proceeded to 
put their usual questions to the possessors of hand-packages. 
Vine alias Granger was requested to exhibit the interior of 
the small black bag. Whatever might have been its con- 
tents, they were clearly not contraband goods, and the 
owner of the bag at once turned to the right and moved 
towards the station gates. Mr. Pinch followed closely upon 
his heels, wearing an air which seemed to say he knew he 
was in a foreign land, and unprotected, but that he rather 
knew his way about, for all that. 

The elderly gentleman stayed for a few moments facing 
the threshold, scanned one or two of the figures pushing out, 
and then in a disappointed manner returned in the direction 
of the courtyard gates. A porter called to him that the 
majority of the passengers had not yet issued forth, but the 
other was apparently hard of hearing. ' Old imbecile !' 
added the porter, looking after him. At the station gates 
the elderly gentleman overtook our two ccquaintances, and 


parsed them hastily. He traversed the wide street, made 
ior the corner of the Eue Lafayette, dived into this thorough- 
fare, and presently arrested his course in front of a cab 
which stood drawn up by the pavement. The cabman had 
descended from his box, and was stamping his feet and 
striking his gloved hands together. The elderly gentleman 
opened the door of the vehicle, and told the man to drive to 
the Central Markets. As he held the door open, Vine, alias 
Grainger, or Pritchard, came up with Mr. Finch. 

' After you, grandpa,' said Mr. Finch politely. 

' Now then, Bat, jump in,' growled Vine, alias Grainger. 
' We dou't know who's behind us.' 

' I'm behind you, for one,' returned Mr. Finch, with 
cheerful humour. ' In you get, grandpa— age before 
honesty ! I'm going to try a glass of this hob stuff.' 

A vendor of steaming black coffee had installed himself 
some yards away. 

' Jump up, will you ?' repeated the other fiercely. 

' Look here, Bat,' said their elderly companion rapidly, 
1 we don't want any of this — game !' 

' All right — all right,' responded Mr. Finch imperturbably ; 
' but if Mr. clever Sir John here ain't brought it off, as 
he says he ain't, I want to know what we've got to be in a 
hurry about.' 

' Not brought it off ! Do you mean to say you've not 
brought it off, John ?' inquired grandpa anxiously. 

The object of his query had already seated himself in the 
cab, and for all answer urged the other two, with an oath, 
to mount beside him. 

' Not me !' responded Mr. Finch, with calmness. ' A. nice 
thing this is ! Here's a man I'm sent to do a bit of business 
with, and, when we get the chance to do it, he says he 
thinks he can manage it better by himself. I let him go and 
do it, because so long as it's got, whether he does it or I do 
it, I have my terms from old Clements, don't I ! Well, 
I bar putting-out, and he agrees ; and then he gets out 
of the compartment to go and do it, and I never see him 
again until we both get out at Parry, just this instant. 
And then, when I ask him about it, he says he ain't brought 
it off. A nice thing this is ! I thought I was working with 
a clever man. If he ain't brought it off, what are we to 
run away for ? Where's the man we've come after — why 


ain't we following him ? "What could you want better than 
this !' 

He glanced upwards at the sky. The rain had ceased, 
but it was still quite dark. Grandpa put his head inside 
the cab. 

' Have you missed it, yes or no ?' he demanded curtly. 

' Yes,' was the reply, emphasised with an imprecation. 

' Then where is he ?' 

' Where is he !' The speaker made a gesture which was 
lost in the gloom. ' Stop here as long as you like,' he 
added savagely, ' but don't blame me if you get taken.' 

' Why, John, you alarm me ! Get in, Bat ; we'll have an 
explanation as we go along. There's evidently something 
very wrong with this affair.' 

The vehicle started on its journey towards the Central 

' Yes, we've got nothing, and appearances are all against 
us,' resumed Vine, alias Grainger ; ' but I know where to 
look for it, if we can get clear now, and find the man 
out afterwards.' He sprang up from the seat and looked 
through the small pane of glass at the back of the carriage. 
'I thought so!' he exclaimed excitedly; 'there's a cab 
following us.' 

' Why, who can be in it ?' said grandpa. 

' Byde of Scotland Yard came down from London to 
Dover. He hid himself on the Channel boat, and we haven't 
seen him since. I'll lay a thousand he has come through, 
and if he's in that cab he'll never leave us.' 

' Won't he !' said grandpa, rendered extremely serious 
by the name his companion had pronounced. ' He won't 
leave ? Oh, oh ! we shall have to be severe with Inspector 
Byde. But, before I take steps of any kind, I must know 
exactly how this matter stands ; because, if you're not 
dealing fair and square with me, you don't go any farther in 
my cab. Inspector Byde may be after you, and the whole of 
the French police as well, for all I care ; I don't move a step 
for a man who doesn't deal fair and square. When I under- 
took this business with Clements, I stipulated that there 
was to be nothing previously against either of the men who 
were coming over. I am not going to be compromised for a 
single moment, remember that plainly. If you were not 
wanted for anything up to eight o clock last night, when you 


left London by the mail, why should you be running away 
from Inspector Byde, or anyone else, this morning? How 
can it matter to either of you who is in that cab — come ?' 
Mr. Finch kicked viciously at the foot-warmer lying in the 
well of the conveyance. Sir John made no answer. 
' Surely,' pursued the elderly gentleman, in a softer tone, 
' surely you are not thinking to bamboozle grandpa ? Is 
that it ? Is that a sort of little game that you would try 
on, Bartholomew Finch, alias Walker, late of the Old 
Bailey, and formerly of Clerkenwell Court-House ?' 

' Me ?' replied the youth thus interrogated ; ' not me ! 
Bamboozle you, grandpa ? Not me ! — no ! — not me, Mr. 
Wilkins !' 

' Well — is it a sort of little game that you would try on, 
Mr. Ernest Vine, of Clements and Company? Do you 
think I should stand that, John — do you think any man of 
my years and experience could put up with it ? I give you 
half-a-minube to turn it over in your mind.'' 

Sir John sat up straight with a jerk, and pulled off the 
fur-tipped glove of his right hand. 

' Get us home,' he exclaimed sullenly, ' and I will tell 
vou the whole story. Does that look like bamboozling 

He opened his right hand wide. The fingers and palm 
were smeared with blood. 

' We must throw this cab off at once, if it's really follow- 
ing us,' said grandpa promptly. He stood up and glanced 
through the small pane of glass. ' Yes, — we are being fol- 
lowed. However, we'll soon set that little matter right.' 
He twisted the button which sounded the bell-signal to the 
driver. ' Stop at the first wine-shop or cafe you find open,' 
he called, in ready but Britannic French. 

A little farther on the cabman pulled up in front of a 
small wine-shop, which apparently had not long before been 
thrown open. Grandpa stepped out of the vehicle and bade 
his companions follow him. 

' What's this ?' demanded Sir John suspiciously. 

' The shortest way. All you have to do is to follow me, 
and look sharp about it. I dare say I can get you out of this 
for the present, but whatever happens I mustn't be seen.' 
Grandpa muffled himself up so closely that his short white 
whiskers and fresh pink cheeks almost entirely disappeared, 




Darting across the pavement into the wine-shop, he gave an 
order at the counter, and took his seat in a nook removed 
from general observation. He then directed Mr. Bartholo- 
mew to watch the movements of the other vehicle. ' It 
can only be a case of precaution, whatever it is,' he added, 
' or we should have been stopped immediately.' 

An unwashed waiter in his shirt-sleeves brought the blot- 
ting-pad and writing materials of the establishment. While 
grandpa proceeded to address an envelope, the waiter re- 
turned sleepily for their glasses of hot black coffee. He was 
blinking and yawning, and stumbled against Mr. Bartholo- 
mew Finch as the latter sauntered from the threshold to- 
wards his companions. 

' The cab has pulled up a short distance away, and no one 
has got out of it,' he reported. 

' There's no doubt about it, then,' said grandpa. 

He was manifestly taking great pains to disguise the 
handwriting of the address, but there his trouble ended. 
The sheet of paper which he folded and enclosed within 
the envelope was blank. The postage-stamp requisite he 
obtained on paying at the counter. Bemounting the cab, 
grandpa gave the order to continue towards the Central 

' They're after us,' announced Mr. Pinch, who had applied 
his eye to the small glass pane. 

The approaches to the Halles were impeded with tho 
carts and waggons which, laden with all kinds of provisions, 
wend their way every morning to these vast Central Markets. 
Grandpa shouted a precise direction to their coachman, and 
they soon found themselves involved in long lines of vehicles 
converging to\vards a particular point. Beaehingalarge corner 
tavern, thronged with market-gardeners, butchers, poulterers, 
and other people whose avocations brought them regularly 
to the Halles, the cabman slackened his pace, but a further 
order was shouted to him to turn the corner and to come to 
a standstill at the other entrance. 

' It's almost unnecessary,' murmured the spry, elderlv 
gentleman, as he peeped once more through the" square of 
glass; 'they seem to have lost us as it is.' Obeying his 
instructions, nevertheless, the driver turned the corner, and 
drew up at one of the tavern entrances on the other side. 
Grandpa promptly hopped out of the carriage, and closed 


the door the moment he had been folio-wed by his com- 
panions. ' Go back to the Gare du Nord,' said he, handing 
the coachman the envelope he had stamped and addressed 
— ' go back as fast as you can, and post this in the station 
letter-box ; it will be in time for the foreign mail if you post 
it there at once.' 

The gratuity with which he accompanied the payment of 
the fares must have been considerable, for the coachman 
whipped his horse generously, and at once set off with an 
edifying show of zeal. The incident had been managed 
with despatch, and grandpa drew the others after him into 
the midst of the groups encumbering the pathway The 
market-people, imbibing their petit noir, or their morning 
nip of rum, were noisily discussing prices, or joking, and 
fencing at bargains. As the cab just quitted made its way 
through the labyrinth of country carts and barrows, the 
other vehicle appeared at the corner, hemmed in for an 
instant by a couple of heavy waggons. Both windows of the 
cab were down, and the three watchers could distinctly see 
the whole of the interior. The vehicle had but a single 
occupant. He was gazing anxiously about him, and pre- 
sently leaned out of the far side to indicate the departing 
cab to his own coachman. 

Vine, alias Grainger, and Air. Finch, stared at each other 
with astonishment. 

'■ What has he got to do with us ' demanded Bartholo- 
mew ; ' I never saw him before !' 

' It isn't Byde, that s one thing,' returned Mr. Vine : 
* and so long as he isn t Byde, I don't care who he is. Do 
you know hrm, grandpa °' 

' I have that distinguished pleasure,' replied their elderly 
friend, shooting his shirr-cuff; 'yes, my boys, I do know 
the gentleman, although up to the present time of day the 
gentleman does not know me. That is Toppin — Mr.Toppin 
— Detective Toppin : a praiseworthy, active, and conscien- 
tious officer kept in Paris by Scotland Yard. Toppin is full 
of ardour, and will no doubt improve. But he is not yet 
what we understand by a " flyer ;" no — Toppin isn't a flyer ! 
He'll follow that cab— oh, he won't lose sight of that cab ! 
— he'll follow that cab, I dare say, till the cabman takes 
it home to-night. He'll go right back to the Northern 
terminus, Toppin will — right back to where he came from !' 


' How do you know lie came from the Northern ter- 
minus ?' 

' Because I saw him there, my little clears ! He was 
there to meet your train, and if, as you say, Byde was a 
traveller by the night-mail, he was most likely there to 
meet his eminent and respected but not necessarily infallible 
colleague, Inspector Byde. And you may take your oath, 
boys, that Byde has sent him after you — perhaps on the off- 
chance, perhaps not. We can make our minds up when we 
hear your little story, John.' 

' That's all very well, Byers,' said Yine, alias Grainger, 
with another look of suspicion, ' but what did you put in 
that letter?' 

' A sheet of notepaper with nothing on it,' responded 
grandpa — ' and on the envelope I put a fancy address, in a 
disguised handwriting. Suppose the man goes back to the 
station and drops it in the letter-box — no harm is done. 
Suppose he simply drops it in the first letter-box he comes 
to — no harm is done. Suppose he forgets to post it alto- 
ether, as he may do — for I didn't ask him for his ticket — 
and intoxicates himself on the tip I gave him — no harm is 
done : and Mr. Toppin will have to do the best he can. 
Well, now, we needn't drink anything here; in fact, we 
couldn't get attended to, if we wanted anything. I will 
take you to your hotel — a snug little place, out of the way 
— There's blood on that handkerchief of yours, Jack — keep 
it out of sight !' 


While Mr. Byers — to adopt the name under which 
grandpa bad been interrogated by Yine, alias Grainger — 
was inscribing an apocryphal address upon the envelope 
containing a blank sheet of paper, a gentleman who had 
just taken up his quarters at the Terminus Hotel, nearly 
opposite the Gare du Nord, proceeded to indite an epistle 
which threatened, on the contrary, to extend to rather 
formidable dimensions. He was one of the travellers by 
the night-mail from London, and he had a letter to send off 
by the return post, he informed the obsequious waiter of 
the hotel cafe ; for this reason he would be glad of writing 



materials at once, and would defer partaking of the refresh- 
ments so glibly enumeratad until his important missive had 
been sent on its way Oh, but monsieur had plenty of 
time ! Monsieur could post at the station letter-box just 
across the road up to a few minutes before the departure of 
the mail. With that fact he was perfectly well acquainted, 
replied the monsieur : that fact alone had impelled hirn to 
put up at the establishment, seeing that when he had 
breakfasted there once before they had served him a beef- 
steak which was a calumny upon the Continent. Ah ! 
monsieur was English ? — American ? ' Bring me the largest 
sheet of paper in the establishment.' A very large sheet of 
paper— certainly, monsieur. Oh, he knew England well, 
the waiter did, having passed a year in Battersea to learn 
the tongue — Battersea— monsieur knew that quarter, per- 
haps ? A very nice quarter. Oh, yes, very nice, very 
handsome ! A large sheet of paper, was it not ? Im- 
mediately, monsieur ! White paper or blue ? — because if 
monsieur wanted blue they had none. Ah, it did not 
matter ? — blue, green, or yellow — precisely : monsieur being 
in a hurry. There was nearly an hour and a half yet before 
the departure of the morning mail — plenty of time ! Where 
he was in Battersea they served great number of beefsteaks 
— steak-and-potate — and great quantity chocolate, and ices. 
The air of Battersea was not too active, and suited him ; 
but having learnt the tongue he came back to a situation 
to speak English towards English and American visitors, 
though monsieur himself spoke French very nice — oh, yes, 
indeed, very nicefully ! 

The caligraphy of this early arrival at the Terminus 
Hotel was of a character that might have secured for him 
the second or even the first prize for penmanship in the most 
genteel of suburban collegiate schools for young gentlemen. 
How beautifully regular the lines ! — how fine the up-strokes ! 
— and the down-strokes, how symmetrically swelling and 
how firm ! And the fingers that guided the pen through such 
elegant small-hand and such even text were those of a 
middle-aged man who did not in the least look like a 
schoolmaster, or like any other sort of person accustomed 
to set copies for his livelihood. The phrases, too, which he 
had uttered in the language of the country had almost 
merited the encomium they had received. They were uu- 


doubtedly of a quality to earn the French prize at the 
suburban collegiate school. The gentleman in question 
wrote his letter and spoke his French a little laboriously, 
perhaps, but then he did not make a single blot upon the 
paper, and in what he said there was not one grammatical 

He began by placing the superscription on the envelope ; 
and it ran as follows, after the name of the recipient with a 
sub-line beneath it : ' Criminal Investigation Department, 
Great Scotland Yard, London, S.W ' 

The exact terms of the epistle itself were the following : 
4 Wilmot (Park Lane) Affair. — This case has taken an un- 
expected turn. In accordance with my instructions yester- 
day afternoon I endeavoured without delay to ascertain the 
movements of Samuel Bemington. He made no attempt to 
avoid observation, and talked freely with neighbours on 
the subject of the robbery. He expressed great sympathy 
for the friends of Sinclair, and deplored for their sake the 
impossibility of keeping the affair out of the papers. 

' Eemington has been in the habit for some time past of 
visiting Paris for the purposes of his business two or three 
times a year. He was regretting yesterday that his 
periodical journey to the Continent should compel him to 
absent himself for a few days at this juncture, and owing to 
the slackness of trade would apparently have relinquished 
the journey had it not been for a substantial order tele- 
graphed to him by a country client. With the assistance of 
Sergeant Bell I found that an order had, as a matter-of- 
fact, been telegraphed to him. The telegram, however, 
came from Dover, a coincidence which the Department will 
appreciate. Sergeant Bell undertakes to obtain the name 
given by the sender, and this part of the inquiry I have 
left in his charge. Bemington made appointments in Lon- 
don for the end of the week. I found that his present visit 
to Paris was a month in advance of his usual visit at this 
time of the year. 

' He left his residence at 7.15 p.m., and I followed him 
to Charing Cross. He had no luggage but a valise. He 
took a return ticket to Paris, and I looked after him and 
got a seat in the same compartment. It was evident that 
he did not suspect me of watching him ; at the same time 
he seemed to be uneasy, and, from what I could divine, had 


expected to see someone at the station who did not put in 
an appearance. 

' Three other persons presently entered the compartment 
at short intervals. The first I fancy I must have seen 
somewhere ; he had. the look of a flash thief, but I had no 
reason for suspecting him. The second I did not know at 
all ; but the third, who arrived just before the departure of 
the train, I feel certain I have met at some time or other. 
It was annoying to be unable to fix his identity, though I 
felt that if my impression with regard to this man were 
right, it could not be recently that I had come across him. 

' Eemington compromised himself repeatedly on the way 
down. From the first he seemed to be convinced that he 
was being watched by the man I have just referred to — the 
last of the other three passengers. In his anxiety to test 
the correctness of his suspicion, he broached the subject of 
the robbery himself, and during the conversation which 
ensued upon it hardly removed his eyes from the man s 
face. Sinclair was promptly taken into custody at Dover, 
and Eemington professed to condole with him as he went 
by on the platform. At Dover Pier Station the guard of 
the train came to our compartment as well as to others, 
with a telegram addressed to the ' Passenger from Scotland 
Yard,' care of himself, at Dover Pier. As Eemington plainly 
had no notion whatever of my own identity, I thought it 
better not to claim the telegram — to risk its loss rather than 
open his eyes, especially as it was competent for me to wire 
for its contents directly I got free. I therefore allowed the 
message to go by. I trust that the course I took may 
occasion no inconvenience, but I was strengthened in the 
resolve I arrived at by certain symptoms on the part of two 
among the other travellers. It will be remembered that 
the case placed in my hands was one of the vaguest sus- 
picion only. If Sinclair was the thief, and Eemington was 
really his confederate, the former had probably hidden the 
diamonds among common goods and thus forwarded them 
by parcels delivery to an address in Paris, where Eemington 
would call for them. Such, as I understood it, was the 
theory. With Sinclair denounced by Eemington, the latter 
would not readily be suspected of complicity with him. No 
evidence would be forthcoming against Sinclair, and in the 
meantime Eemington would get the property off his hands. 


I hope the Department may agree that I was right to pre- 
serve my incognito. 

' Following Eemington on board the channel boat, I 
fancied I saw grounds for believing that he was, in fact, 
being watched by the man above referred to, whom I like- 
wise detected in secret communication with the (presum- 
ably) flash pickpocket who had travelled in the same 
carriage. I was uncertain how far I might be known to 
one of these individuals, if not to both, and for that reason 
decided to keep out of sight if possible during the rest of 
the journey. On the assumption that the theory we have 
acted upon was well founded, it appeared to me that these 
two individuals — about whose character the more I saw of 
them the less I entertained a doubt — had by some means 
or other got wind of the object of Eemington's journey. It 
appeared to me that if I should trace Eemington to any Paris 
address where a package was awaiting him, I should most 
probably discover that he had been likewise traced thither 
by those two men. But while I was concealing my own 
whereabouts from them I inevitably lost sight of their 
movements a good deal. At Amiens, looking along the 
train, I saw Eemington descend from his compartment, but 
only for a moment, the stoppage being of less than the or- 
dinary duration. 

' On our arrival at the Northern terminus, Paris, I watched 
each passenger through the gates, the two men I speak of 
with the rest. To my surprise, Eemington did not pass out. 
Toppin, however, at once came up with both the telegrams 
despatched to him by the Department, the second contain- 
ing the substance of the message to myself which had mis- 
carried. It was then that I recollected the man who 
ostensibly proved the alibi in the Golden Square case, two 
years ago — Vine, alias Grainger. I had just time to point 
him out to Toppin ; and in view of the reiterated directions 
by telegram, Toppin hastened after Vine and his companion, 
to make sure of their whereabouts in case of need. I now 
await his return. 

' While the last few travellers who had brought heavy 
luggage with them were going out of the gates, after the 
examination of their trunks by the Custom House officers, 
a porter ran to the entrance of the platform with the news 
that a dead body had been found in one of the carriages. 


From Boulogne the passengers had not been numerous, and 
a considerable proportion of the compartments were un- 
occupied. On our arrival at Paris, therefore, several of the 
doors remained closed until the porters went through the 
train, and it was while this operation was being performed 
that the corpse was discovered. 

' Conjecturing from Eemington's non-appearance that the 
body might be his, I made myself known to the English 
through-guard. He was astonished when I showed him my 
card, for, influenced by a remark made, tentatively, perhaps, 
by Eemington at Dover Pier, he had taken the man Vine 
for an officer of the Department, and, upon finding a second 
telegram at Calais, had privately addressed himself to that 
individual. Vine profited by the error to obtain possession 
of the message, enjoining the guard to say and do nothing 
that might hamper him in his imaginary mission. Of the 
contents of that second message I am necessarily ignorant, 
but presume it warned me of the departure of two suspicious 
characters by the night-mail, in the same terms as the tele- 
gram care of Toppin. Consequently, Vine and Pinch have 
known, since the stoppage at Calais, that the Department 
is aware of their leaving by the mail, and that a special 
detective-officer has been told off to act with Toppin, of 
Paris. They mayor may not guess at a connection between 
my errand and the Wilrnot Case ; and, on the other hand, 
one can only guess at present that between their own 
errand and the Wilmot case there may have been some 
connection. The theory implicating Eemington was one of 
the vaguest, when submitted to ourselves ; how can it have 
passed into the cognizance of men like Vine and Finch ? 
Upon this point an idea occurs to me which, when matured, 
I will communicate to the Department. It is unfortunate 
that the inadvertence I describe should have happened. 
Under the circumstances, however, it was perhaps natural 
enough. It was vital that my presence should not be known 
to the party or parties ; the Department wished urgently to 
communicate with me, but preferred to avoid mentioning 
my name ; Vine was mistrusted by Eemington, and was 
indicated to the guard as possibly the passenger he was 
looking for ; and the guard subsequently inquired in private 
of Vine himself whether such was not the case. That Vine 
should have answered falsely in the affirmative implies, to 


my mind, that he and his companion had come on busi- 

' It seems that the searching of the early morning trains, 
on the descent of the passengers, is often performed in 
a careless manner, and has sometimes been postponed 
for fully an hour. In the present instance the searching 
had begun some ten or twelve minutes after the delivery 
of the tickets. The news of the discovery was carried 
to the police commissary attached to the terminus ; and 
it was only by the aid of the through -guard that I was 
enabled to get a view of the body before the arrival of that 
functionary. As I expected, tire dead man was Samuel 

'The deceased was in a recumbent position, with his 
head supported by a shawl rolled up to form a pillow. He 
was lying on his right side along the seat nearest to the 
engine, with his feet only an inch or two from the door. In 
the left temple there was a bullet wound from a firearm of 
small calibre, and I should say that he was perhaps asleep 
until the moment before the injury was inflicted. The 
features were not distorted, but wore an expression of sur- 
prise ; his right arm was doubled-up under him, and his left 
arm had been thrown back, and lay extended behind him. 
The flow of blood had not been copious, but there were 
blood-stains about his clothes and elsewhere. His travel- 
ling cloak and undercoat were unbuttoned, one of the cloth 
buttons of the latter garment lying on the seat, at the back, 
as though the coat had been wrenched violently open. He 
wore a sealskin vest, of which only the top buttons were 
unfastened; but a left-hand breast-pocket in the lining of 
the vest had apparently been turned inside out, and was 
torn at one of the edges. I had not many moments allowed 
me for seizing these details. My examination was quite 
irregular, and I was stopped as I attempted to carry it 
further. But I was able to note that rings were on the 
fingers of the right hand, which was ungloved, that the 
watch and chain had not been taken, and that there was 
money — to what amount I could not ascertain — in the 
pockets. With regard to the breast-pocket, it was notice- 
able that the torn edge was at the left or upper corner, not 
at the right or lower corner. By a better light it would 
have been possible to pronounce at once whether the threads 


had been recently severed or not ; but, apart from this, it 
would seem as though the material must have been torn 
from above, clearly not by the deceased himself, who, in 
depositing articles in this pocket or withdrawing them, 
would use his right hand, and of the two corners would 
usually catch the right or lower one. I need hardly add 
that there were no evidences of any struggle. 

' Summing up the situation, the case would appear to be 
one of murder, with the purpose of gaining possession of 
some object believed to be in the custody of the deceased. 
What was the nature of that object ? It might be the Wilmot 
diamonds ; but if they were actually in his possession, the 
original theory brought to us is upset. To test that theory, 
Sinclair's movements should be minutely investigated from 
the night of the robbery to the occasion of his arrest. If, 
as we understand, and as appears probable, Eemington can 
have had no personal communication with Sinclair, did the 
latter leave a package for Eemington at some place agreed 
upon, or did he send him any parcel through the ordinary 
public channels ? Eemington may have considered a bold 
course the safest one. Travellers do not as a rule suppose 
that their neighbours may have £20,000 worth of valuables 
in an inner waistcoat-pocket ; and if he had decided to bring 
the property over himself, his murderer must be found be- 
fore we get again upon the trace of the Wilmot diamonds. 
At the same time, the original theory may be the correct 
one, after all. He may not have had the valuables about 
him ; and the murder, if committed for the purpose of 
obtaining possession of them, may have been committed in 
vain. The inner pocket of the vest may have been found 
quite empty. 

' Suspicion evidently points to the two men named in your 
messages — Vine, alias Grainger or Smith, and Pinch, alias 
Walker. They are, of course, in Paris, and for all I know 
may be at the present moment within a stone's-throw of the 
hotel at which I am writing. What their familiarity with 
Paris hiding-places may be I cannot say. In all probability 
they have come here furnished with an address. It is ex- 
tremely fortunate that I should have been able to place 
Toppin so promptly upon their track : and this we owe to 
your telegrams. Toppin will have seen them safely housed, 
and then, by his relations with the French police, will secure 


their arrest on suspicion. I am only just in time td catch 
the return mail.' 

The writer sealed up his long epistle, procured the neces- 
sary postage from the waiter, and directed that wondering 
personage — who now appeared freshly-shaven, and with his 
dingy flannel-shirt hidden by clean linen that was rigorously 
white, with bluish tones — to keep an eye upon his travelling- 
rug, etc., while he ran across to the late letter-box at the 
terminus. He consulted the railway clock, dropped the 
missive into the foreign box with a sigh of satisfaction, and 
stepped into the telegraph-office to wire a message that his 
' report was following by morning-mail.' While standing at 
the desk he also scribbled a note in these brief terms, and in 
quite an inferior handwriting : — 

' Dear Mary, — Tell the boy to watch Clements, of Tudor 
Street. He is to try and find out if C. receives letters bear- 
ing Paris postmark, or foreign telegrams. Should C. appear 
to be leaving for Continent, the boy is to wire me above 
hotel. Give him what money he may want. He may see 
some one from the Yard on the same tack, but that is to 
make no difference. C. will be on the look-out for the Yard 
people, and may prove too slippery for them. Don't forget 
the dog's medicine.' 

An address was already printed on the crumpled envelope 
in which the foregoing note was enclosed. Mrs. Byde was 
the name of the accipient, and she lived in Camberwell. 

The passenger from Scotland Yard, returning across the 
muddy street in the gray light of the winter morning, seemed 
to be able to pick his way among the puddles and to look 
on every side of him simultaneously. His friend the waiter, 
surveying him from the doorway, as he approached, appar- 
ently found it difficult to classify the customer whom the 
early mail had brought to the establishment that day. The 
phraseograms he would habitually pour forth before the 
Cockney who arrived to him an hungred, faltered and died 
away upon his doubting lips. ' Chop-and-steaks-and-potate,' 
' Cole-rosbif-and-pickells,' ' Fright- sole -or- gril- kidneys,' 
' Hamannegs,' — these and other simple viands, richly 
anointed with margarine, had always been favoured by the 
aristocracy of Battersea on Saturday nights, the Sabbath, 
and Bank Holiday. The waiter had derived therefrom a 
poor impression of the English noble as a critic of the culi- 


nary art ; and so he commonly informed those members of 
his family sphere who had not hitherto enjoyed the benefits 
of travel. But the gentleman who had come that morning, 
and who resembled externally any other kind of burly 
gentleman from Battersea — a little on in years, perhaps — 
had just at this moment a glacial air which froze upon the 
waiter's tongue the cockney commonplace he usually re- 
served for English travellers with shabby hats and copper- 
coloured horse-shoe scarf-pins. Inspector Byde had not 
arrayed his person with the elegance of a Bond Street 
fashion-plate, that was sure. It was clear he had no ar- 
rangement with his tailor by which he exhibited and 
advertised, in return for a discount, or a drawback, or 
' liberal treatment, sir, — oh, we know when we're dealing 
with a gentleman, sir,' the harmonies of that artist, or his 
symphonies — under the reader's reverence. No ; the in- 
spector has the quickest of perceptions of all outward effects, 
as his colleagues in the force know well. Who like him can 
adapt mere nothings to the uses of disguise ? Who so com- 
pletely can appear the clownish peasant, the sportive stock- 
broker, the atrabiliary meeting-house Jeremiah ? When 
left to himself, however, Inspector Byde takes refuge in his 
oldest clothes, and lets his bushy beard grow And yet you 
would never confound him with Sergeant Bell. The waiter 
swallowed his phraseogram of ' tea — coff — choclate — bottell- 
beer,' and called down the pipe privily to the cook to give 
his best care to the forthcoming order. 

The order, indeed, which presently followed that warning 
was conceived in the happiest vein of gastronomical pro- 
priety, not unblended with zest. Inspector Byde would 
sometimes say at home in Camberwell that when they had 
sent him abroad, on business of the Department, he might 
have failed to bring them back the criminal, but he never 
failed to bring a new dish to the Camberwell kitchen. He 
used to add that he was a better cook than detective ; but 
this was not the opinion of Mrs. Byde, who could not relish, 
do what she would, the tripes a la mode de Caen which he 
occasionally essayed, and who did not believe that the 
mixture of tomatoes, butter, eggs, parsley, and garlic, with 
pepper and salt, so often prepared in a frying-pan by the 
inspector, after that brief trip of his to Marseilles, could 
possibly be otherwise than baneful to a Protestant digestion. 


And the valued Caledonian downstairs, who could vie with 
anyone in roast meats and boiled, objected strongly to the 
master's presence in the kitchen. Inspector Byde gave his 
order like a cook and a gentleman ; and his ' Frenche he 
spake full fayre and fetisly.' He had not attended evening 
classes at the local institute for nothing ; and he would have 
rather thought that their local institute, at the corner of the 
terrace, ranked as high as any'scoleof Stratford -atte-Bowe.' 
Whenever he landed upon the soil of France, therefore, he 
conversed with perfect readiness in the three dialects, agree- 
ably intermingled, which he had managed to acquire ; the 
first from the bankrupt Bordeaux hosier, who, established 
in a London villa, instructed the local youth of both sexes 
and adults; the second, from the estimable Swiss pastor 
with whom he had once stayed for the benefit of his health ; 
and the other from the Marseilles warehouseman to whom 
he had been referred for certain information of departmental 
interest. He found that he always secured attention when 
he spoke to the natives in their own tongue. 

As he waited for his breakfast, Mr. Byde looked round 
for a newspaper. Finding none to his taste, he plunged his 
hand into a capacious coat-pocket and produced a few articles 
which he examined, one by one, and then ranged on the 
table. There were two pipe-cases; a small book, like an 
education-primer ; several envelopes and sheets of note- 
paper, between a pair of card-board covers ; and a clumsy 
leathern case for spectacles. The spectacles were blue and 
large — so large and so densely blue that each lens might 
have been mistaken for a saucer in a tea-service of old china. 
Mr. Byde breathed on the glasses and re-folded them, and 
extracted a piece of lead-pencil from another pocket. 

The waiter must have journeyed to and fro more often by 
a great deal than his service could have required. Every 
time he passed the table over which the strange gentleman 
was bending he craned a little to one side, as if he sought to 
catch a glimpse of that gentleman's occupation. Perhaps 
he fancied that the new arrival might be caricaturing the 
manager of the establishment, who was now displaying his 
portly person at the counter, or that his own — the waiter's 
— oval countenance, shaded by short and shining curls, had 
aroused the admiration of the intelligent stranger, who might 
be transferring the picture skilfully to paper. Making ready 


at length to lay the snow-white tablecloth, he saw that both 
his impressions were erroneous. The stranger was tracing 
figures which he could not for the life of him identify with 
any objects in that restaurant. He drew the same figures 
repeatedly on different scales, and two or three of them had 
been traced upon the marble-slab of the table itself. It 
looked like sorcery, especially when the designer of the lines 
and circles printed letters of the alphabet here and there, 
and muttered to himself; but the gentleman was perhaps an 
architect ? 

As a matter of fact it was the problem of an equilateral 
triangle, to be described on a given finite straight line, that 
Mr. Inspector Byde had been industriously solving upon the 
marble-slab of the cafe table. From that exercise he had 
proceeded to a solution of tho problem : To draw, from 
a given point, a straight line equal to a given straight 

' Let A,' muttered Mr. Byde, as he printed letters of the 
alphabet here and there, ' be the given point, and BG the 
given straight line : it is required to draw from the point A 
a straight line equal to BC. From the point A to B 
draw the straight line AB. Postulate 1 says that a straight 
line may be drawn from any one point to any other point ; 
so that I at once go on to describe upon it the equilateral 
triangle DAB., producing the straight lines DA, DB, to 
E and F ; in accordance with postulate 2, which states 
that a terminated straight line may be produced to any 
length in a straight line. From the centre B, at the dis- 
tance BC, I describe the circle CGH, meeting DF at G, 
inasmuch as postulate 3 declares that a circle may be 
described from any centre, at any distance from that centre. 
I next, from the centre D, at the distance DG, describe 
the circle GKL, meeting DE at L. Now it follows 
from the definition that BO is equal to BG, and that 
AL and BC are each of them equal to BG. And as 
things which are equal to the same thing are equal to one 
another, AL is equal to BG ; wherefore, from the given 
point A a straight line AL has been drawn, equal to the 
given straight line BC.' 

Inspector Byde surveyed his handiwork with approbation, 
and added, most conscientiously, ' Q. E. F.' He also 
demonstrated how, from the greater of two given straight 



lines, a part may be cut off equal to the less ; which being 
accomplished, he again pronounced a somewhat unctuous 
' Q. E. E.' He had not soared to lofty mathematical 
eminences, as the reader will no doubt have observed. 
Indeed, he had never been able to push his researches into 
the eternal truths of Euclid's elements farther than pro- 
position 12, the scholastic advantages which he had almost 
religiously procured for Master Edgar Byde, the sole scion 
of his house, and possibly a future ornament to the Yard, 
having been as a rule beyond his own reach, notwithstand- 
ing the popular institute at the corner of the terrace. But 
the inspector could do eight out of those twelve, he flattered 
himself, as lucidly as anyone, and five of them he knew by 
heart. Was this bad, when you were a busy man, and self- 
instructed ? He could not bring himself to seek assistance 
from his erudite son ; but he borrowed Master Byde's old 
school-books, and retained them — having paid for them 
himself — arc! frequently consulted those portable volumes, 
in secret. The dog'sears through the education-primer at 
his left hand indicated the giddy pinnacle to which his son 
had climbed in regions of pure geometry ; and of those dog's- 
ears, together with marginal illustrations of the horse, the 
locomotive-engine, the steamship, and the most prominent 
features of the least amiable of the teachers at his son's 
school, Mr. Inspector Byde was very proud. 

It was when there was nothing of particular urgency to 
occupy his mind that the inspector resorted to his rudi- 
mentary diagrams. Some people will sketch impromptu 
forms when they are fancy free, will tear pieces of paper 
into the minutest fragments, gnaw at their finger-nails, 
whistle for the gratification of their neighbours, or pick 
their teeth with the specific implement to which a length- 
ened usage may have attached them. Inspector Byde filled 
up odd quarters of an hour by proving a few familiar 
theorems and solving a cherished problem or two which 
Master Byde would assuredly have disdained. It must 
have been all plain-sailing, for the moment, in the Wilmot 
affair. The passenger from Scotland Yard went on to 
prove that the angles at the base of an isosceles triangle 
are equal to one another, and that, if the equal sides be 
produced, the angles on the other side of the base shall be 
equal to one another, also : the corollary resulting from 


which demonstration being that every equilateral triangle ia 
likewise equiangular. 

The waiter bustled in from the street, evidently burdened 
with a piece of exciting intelligence. Did monsieur know ? 
There had been a dreadful deed in the train by which 
monsieur had travelled — a murder. He had just learnt all 
about it from his colleague at the restaurant next door but 
three. Frightful, was it not ? 

' What, you have heard of it already, at this end of the 
street ?' said the inspector. ' Bravo ! things are smartly 
done in Paris, aren't they ?' 

' Yes — but they can't make out some writing on the slip 
of paper ; and I am to go to the commissary's office to see 
if I can read it.' 

' A slip of paper ?' 

' With writing on it, monsieur — writing in English — that 
looks like an address !' 


It was to a private hotel in a by-street lying between the 
Faubourg St. Honore and the Avenue des Champs Elysees 
that Mr. Byers conducted his two companions on the morn- 
ing of their arrival in Paris. As he explained to them, the 
quarter was sufficiently populous and sufficiently Britannic 
for their introduction into any portion of it to pass un- 
noticed. A good many of the stable-boys, grooms, and 
coachmen, in fact, who were to be encountered in that 
quarter came from the various counties of the British Isles, 
and Mr. Bartholomew Finch might easily have been mis- 
taken for some among that class. He would not readily 
have been taken for a personage with many grooms and 
coachmen in his service ; nor could his presence, as a guest, 
in marble halls or gilded drawing-rooms have failed to strike 
the observant menials waiting upon the company as a 
circumstance of the most suspicious order, not to say — if a 
genuine quotation from the servant's hall may be permitted 
— a promiscuous abnormality. 

The physiognomy of Sir John, however, lent itself at 
once to any sort of society, high or low. We who are 
acquainted with his antecedents can state that his origin 


was of the most vile, that the associations of his early years 
were brutalising and sinister, and that all his life he had 
profited by crime, although he was never known, by men in 
Soho who are cognisant of everything, to have personally 
engaged in its actual perpetration. The scandal in high life 
which had ended so disastrously for a Spanish hidalgo who 
had settled in Mayfair, had commended the Montmorency 
Vane who had the intrigue with the hidalgo's wife to the 
most favourable notice of the enterprising firm of Clements 
and Company. That distinguished Spaniard had espoused 
an American beauty — indeed, the ' belle ' of Boston ; and 
really a very handsome and widely ill-educated young lady — 
who had thrown over an ingenuous townsman (the Presby- 
terian auctioneer, who afterwards committed suicide) for the 
sake of a Castilian invalid and title. When she took her 
walks in Hyde Park, Montmorency Vane would follow at a 
distance ; sometimes a copy of verses, written upon vellum 
stamped with a coat-of-arms, would reach her by the post. 
From her window she had occasionally detected him watch- 
ing her residence with the jealousy of true love. He would 
shroud himself in a dark mantle, and pose in the attitude 
of the mysterious stranger. He told her subsequently that 
he had royal blood in his veins. Montmorency Vane turned 
out to be Vine, alias Grainger. He was not a party to the 
divorce suit, but in the impounded correspondence there 
were notes which bore his name and seal. It proved a 
great shock to the ' belle ' of Boston who had jilted the 
Presbyterian auctioneer — a young man of great promise and 
fine prospects, and the support of his mother and sisters — 
to find that her own maid had formed the veritable attrac- 
tion. Through her own maid the mysterious stranger knew 
oi all her movements ; and it was a humiliation from which 
she never recovered to learn that 'her purse, not her person' 
— as her counsel declaimed afterwards, tautophonically but 
with noble indignation- — had been the object of his persistent 
siege. But it would be of no use denying it : about Vine, 
alias Grainger, or ' Sir John,' there was a something which 
imposed upon the wisest among the fair. Wherever he 
Went, the sex were gracious with him ; and he hardly went 
anywhere without turning to pecuniary account this gracious 
disposition of the sex. He would borrow the savings of a 
lady's-maid, or steal them from her; or he would live in a 


magnificent manner for a week or two upon an instalment 
of hush-money extorted from her mistress. 

In London, people usually found it so difficult to ' place ' 
Vine, alias Grainger, that they often transferred their at- 
tention to his immediate neighbours as a means of making 
up their minds with reference to himself. You might have 
taken him, in London, for a music-hall vocalist, or a billiard- 
marker ; for a betting-man, or a professional philanthropist; 
a bill discounter, or a noble viscount who, with no money in 
his pocket, no balance at the bank, and not even a few blank 
cheques to show in a deceptive cheque-book, goes behind the 
scenes of theatres and invites the chorus-girls orballet-dancers 
to supper. Vine, alias Granger, fitted into Parisian life quite 
naturally. In Paris he would at once become an excel- 
lent type of the Continental loafer who talks international 
politics with the bias of John Bull, and never learns the 
language of the country. Only card-sharpers would have 
played ecarte with him on a first acquaintance. And yet 
there are men of the same external type in Continental 
cities upon whom mistrust would constitute a keen in- 
justice : perfectly honest gentlemen — the cousins or brothers- 
in-law of wealthy British residents — who subsist upon the 
charity of their relatives and are not to be surprised in any 
species of indecorous act. As for Sir John, he might have 
had no polish, but he used an impenetrable veneer. He 
could put on a dazzling show of gentility, and had always 
found it answer; gentility being, upon the whole, more 
advantageous to the individual than refinement. At any 
rate, the ladies were always prepossessed in his favour — 
especially those who prided themselves upon their gifts of 

When grandpa arrived at the Hotel Clifton with his 
charges, the damsel who presided over the small counting- 
house had only just descended. The raw air made its way 
in with the three visitors, and the damsel gazed upon them 
at first not too pleasantly. 

Mr. Byers reminded the young person that he had en- 
gaged an apartment on the first floor for a couple of friends 
who had just come up from Italy. It was a double-bedded 
room, and his two friends, who had travelled for some days 
unbrokenly, would wish for absolute quiet. Until they got 
over their excessive fatigue, and felt a little better in health 


— the doctors had forbidden them to travel northwards, but 
the demands of business were imperious— they would prefer 
to take their meals privately, in their apartment. Break- 
fast might be served at the ordinary hour, but in the mean- 
time mademoiselle would send them up hot grogs. 

Mademoiselle seemed to have intended to receive the 
strangers haughtily — these foreign travellers presumed upon 
their wealth. She thawed, however, beneath the casual 
glance of Sir John, and informed him, responding to Mr. 
Byers, that everything should be done that could possibly 
be done to secure them comfort and tranquillity. 

The first proceeding of Mr. Finch, on their installing 
themselves in the apartment on the first-floor, was to look 
out of the window and estimate the distance of the drop. 
Mr. Byers examined the recesses and tested the walls. 
Satisfied that they were secure from any risk of being over- 
heard, Mr. Byers dragged a chair up to the mantelpiece, 
and warmed himself at the log fire. 

' Now, John,' said he, ' there must be no reticences in 
this affair, you know. Let us have the remainder of the 
story, just as it happened, nothing more and nothing less. 
Whatever it is, out with it. If you've gone farther in this 
than we like, we can back out, can't we, and say no more 
about it ? We're men of business : you're safe with me, 
and I'm safe with you. You ve taken me up to the last 
stoppage but one. At Amiens you had made up your mind 
to get the property between Creil and Paris V Is that it '?' 

' That's it, grandpa,' confirmed Mr. Finch. 

' Well,' began Vine, alias Grainger, slowly, * I dare say 
you'll want to wash your hands of this business, Byers, 
when you've heard how it stands. As for Bat, if I am 
implicated, he's implicated too. Appearances might be 
against us at a pinch, but, after all, there's nothing they 
could prove. If you left us, Byers, if you said you would 
have nothing more to do with it, I shouldn't be surprised ; 
but I know we should be safe with you?' 

' My character ought to be pretty well-known by this 
time, I should hope,' returned Mr. Byers distantly. ' I've 
done business with as many hard-working thieves as any- 
body, and I should like to know who could have sent men to 
penal servitude if I couldn't — and some of them richly 
deserved it for their ingratitude ; but I bear no malice, and I 


remembered their -wives and families. Safe with me ! 
What do you say, Bat '?' 

' I say that I -want Mr. clever Sir John to tell me without 

any more palaver what the I'm " implicated " in, that's 

what I say,' growled Bartholomew. 

' Perhaps you'll blame vie for what has happened ?' 
resumed the other. ' It was no fault of mine. How could 
I kuow ? You re well off that I changed my mind at the 
last moment ; if I had kept to the original arrangement, yon 
might have been in this condition, too !' He took out his 
handkerchief, and contemplated the stains of blood for 
an instant, without any signs of emotion. ' My plan was 
for Bat, here, to follow me along the step into the compart- 
ment where Bemington had gone. It was very easy ; the 
night was pitch dark ; there were only a few people in the 
train ; Bemington had a second-class ticket, and could not 
be more than three or four compartments along ; he had 
been endeavouring to get a compartment to himself ever 
since we left Calais, and could hardly keep his eyes open ; 
and by trying it after Creil, the last stoppage, we ran 
a good chance of finding him half asleep. I may want 
to cut things short sometimes, but no one can accuse me of 
ever mixing myself up with violence. I did not desire any 
violence ; I detest violence. If the boys would take a leaf 
out of my book, they wouldn't be sent to " penal " quite so 
often, I can tell you, or be settled by the black cap, leaving 
their families to go upon the parish rates.' 

' When the boys ain't such favourites with the ladies, 
they have to do the best they can,' commented Mr. Pinch, 
rather rudely, as his companion paused—' me, for instance. 
Xot that I'm a partisan of violence — oh, dear no, not me ! 
Though I like to cut things short, as much as other people, 
and what I want to know at the present moment is, what 
the ■ I'm "implicated " in !' 

' Supposing we had found him on the look-out, what could 
he have dared to do ? He had the property about him, and 
would have immediately known that we knew it. If he had 
shown fight, without making any noise, we were too strong 
for him ; if he had called for help, or signalled to stop the 
train, he was at our mercy, because he had the property 
on his person, and we could have denounced him. What I 
meant to do was just to tell him quietly what we had come 


for, to recommend him to make no fuss, and to get it from 
him peaceably. We might have handed him something over 
for the trouble he had been put to, and had a drink with him 
when we arrived in Paris. That was my combination. It 
was straightforward, wasn't it — a straightforward plan, and 
pretty good ?' 

' The A B C of the game — that's all !' replied Mr. Byers. 

' The A B C of the game, no doubt,' said the other coolly ; 
' if two things had not happened ; if, to begin with, Mr. Bat, 
here, had not kept me arguing, after we left Creil, that 
it was better to wait until we reached Paris, and then watch 
our man and get the diamonds from him " comfortably " — 
''comfortably!" I told him to stay where he was, but 
to keep a look-out on the nearside of the train, up as well as 

' A look-out ! You couldn't see your hand before you ; 
and as for hearing anybody, you couldn't have heard it 
thunder, with the row the train was making. I admit I 
wanted to wait until we got to Parry, but as you had made 
your mind up to bring it off in the train, why couldn't I have 
come with you ? No ; you would have your own way — you 
said that that would spoil it.' 

' Because, on second thoughts, if I could have caught him 
with his eyes closed, or asleep, it would have been quicker 
for one to do it than two ; and then, with a bit of cloth 
across my face, I could have got away without his guessing 
who had pinned him down so artfully, and robbed him. 
And if he had struggled, he would have been hurt. The 
property could have been passed on to Bat, and I could 
have finished the journey in one of the empty compart- 
ments, just in case of accidents. Well, wasn't that pretty 

' I want to know what I'm implicated in,' said Mr. Finch 

' Murder,' replied his colleague deliberately. ' And as we 
were followed from the station on spec, and before it could 
have been discovered, Byers would be in it, too, if he could 
be identified as one of the three. When I got on to the 
footboard, on the off-side of the train, I found it was easier 
work than I had thought. There was no danger of the 
guard coming along again to look at the tickets, and even in 
broad daylight the passengers could not have seen me unless 


they had had their heads out of the window. As it was, 
the windows were all closed, and where there were pas- 
sengers, some of the blinds were drawn. The train was 
going very fast, and swung now and then, but I found it 
easy enough to creep along. Everything was there ready to 
your hand. I thought I had gone past the compartment, 
owing to the drawn curtains, but presently I got to our man. 
There was an empty compartment on each side of his, 
and nothing could have seemed better. The lamp had burnt 
very low, but I could see that he was lying along the seat 
nearest the engine, with something under his head for a 
pillow, and his feet almost touching the door I meant to 
open. I did not think he could be asleep, with the know- 
ledge that he had this property about him ; but it looked as 
if he had come to the conclusion that all was safe, as 
we were getting near Paris ; and that he was dozing. I 
had the door open in a second, and in another second 
I had him by the throat. He did not resist, and I shook him 
to see whether he would speak. He did not speak ; but as I 
shook him I felt something at the side of his throat, moist 
and sticky. It was blood. I turned his head gently 
towards the light, and there was a small wound at the left 
temple. I tried the pulse. Our man was dead.' 

' And that is how you got those stains on your handker- 
chief and your hands ?' said Mr. Byers, breaking the silence 
which ensued upon this announcement. 

' That is how ' 

' Then there ought to be marks on the door, as you closed 
it after you, on going back ; and a mark or two, perhaps, on 
the handles as you went along tc your own compartment 
again ?' 

' It had not quite left off raining, as I crept back, and the 
rain must have washed away any traces of that sort. I 
entered almost the first empty compartment I came to, and 
that is the reason why Bat and I did not meet again before 
giving up our tickets at the terminus.' 

' When did you get those nasty stains on your handker- 
chief ?' 

' When I wiped my wrist, afterwards, in the compartment 
alone. Whoever had done it could not have been there 
very long before me ; and you can take your affidavit that I 
didn't stay there very long, either. It was quite sufficient 


for me to see that sealskin vest unbuttoned, and the pocket 
in the lining turned inside out.' 

Neither Sir. Byers nor Finch, alias Walker, made any 

' A child might have floored me when I found out what 
had happened,' resumed the narrator. ' I could scarcely 
believe it. I was so upset, that I nearly let go my hold as 
I went back along the footboard. The disappointment was 
enough to make you jump under the wheels.' 

Mr. Byers gazed into the log-fire, Finch, alias Walker, 
tilted his chair back and studied the arabesques around the 

' Such a thing never happened to me before,' continued 
Sir John ; ' and I wish I could have come across the party 
who forestalled us !' 

'Why?' said Mr. Byers. 

< Why ?' 

' Yes — why ? He wouldn't have been likely to be dozing, 
you know. And you had no weapons — that is, you had no 
lire-arms ?' 

Sir John looked at his questioner without replying at 
once. He then transferred his scrutiny to Mr. Finch. 

' What does this amount to ?' he demanded presently, 
rising to his feet. ' Does this mean that you doubt my 
word ? Which of you doubts my word — come ?' Mr. 
Byers whistled softly to himself, and stirred one of the 
blazing logs with his foot. He companion followed with a 
fascinated air an arabesque in faded blue. ' Bat knows 
what I had, besides the sword-stick which I left in his care. 
If I had any fire-arms, where are they now? And why 
should I want to put the double on you ? There would 
have been more than enough for all of us, and for three 
times our number. The stones were undervalued, Clements 
says. Why should I want to put the double on? Besides, 
you can satisfy yourself. Search me !' 

' John, I am surprised at you,' remonstrated Mr. Byers. 
' Your attitude just now was unbecoming in the extreme. 
Menaces ! And with regard to searching, we don't search 
one another — not exactly ! If we did not trust to one 
another, business could not possibly go on. What do you 
say, Bartholomew?' 

* Pity he didn't jump under those wheels — when he got 


those marks about him — that's what I say,' responded Mr. 
Finch. ' He hasn't yet found out that he smeared his own 
undercoat with the stains from his hand — and look at it I 
Search him? He'll have to search himself if he wants to 
go out into the public streets with me.' 

' "Well, now, of course he will take the necessary pre- 
cautions ; that is another question. Make up your mind to 
this ; you will both be suspected, prima facie, by the per- 
sons — friend Toppin, his colleague, and the rest — who know 
of your presence in the train ; and that, of course, involves 
myself. Unfortunate — most unfortunate ! What we have 
to do now is to find the property, because then we find the 
gentleman who did this business, or we get upon his track. 
If we succeed in taking over the property, we can soon get the 
gentleman indicated to Scotland Yard. Search you, John ! 
Oh dear no ! The gentleman I should like to search, from 
what you tell me of the proceedings on the way, is either ' 
— grandpa paused in delivering judgment — ' Byde him- 
self ' 

' Byde !' exclaimed Mr. Finch, this time really astonished. 

' I wish I could think it was Byde,' muttered Sir 

' Or the talkative man, what's-his-name, in the temper- 
ance cause ; and in my opinion that is the party we shall 
have to look for.' 

' You've hit it, grandpa,' said Mr. Finch. 

' My own idea, Byers — the temperance man !' said Sir 
John emphatically. ' To find the property, we must find 
that gentleman : though, if it were Byde ' 

' Oh, he's quite deep enough to have thought about it,' 
observed Mr. Byers, ' but let us do him justice. There's no 
man at the Yard who's cleverer than Byde, but there's no 
man who's more honest. I did know one of them, a great 
linguist, Greek by descent — he's now away, doing fifteen 
years — who would not have hesitated a very long time 
about putting a knife into Bemington — not a bullet : too 
clumsy — getting the valuables, and having you both arrested 
before you were fifty yards outside the station. It is greatly 
to be regretted that there has been any violence in this 
affair ; but the person who was there before you, John, was 
not a regular hand. No regular hand would use a firearm, 
would he ?' 


' Of course not. That's exactly what I said to myself,' 
exclaimed Sir John. 

' I'll give a prize to any lady or gentleman who will bring 
the address of our dear friend from England to Mr. Bar- 
tholomew Finch, Esq., in the course of the afternoon,' 
remarked Mr. Einch. 

Vine, alias Grainger, tried to recall the title of the organiza- 
tion upon whose beneficent influence Brother Neel had been 
expatiating. He failed, however, despite all his attempts. 
Mr. Byers, who had immediately brightened up, declared 
that it did not matter in the smallest degree. He would 
procure a list of the associations of that character which 
existed in Paris ; they were not numerous, and John might 
be able to recognise the name, if he saw it. Only they 
must lose no time. 

' It's lucky I'm with you in this, my boys,' concluded Mr. 
Byers, rising from his chair, and looking for his hat. ' With- 
out me, what a nice mess you would be in ! As it is, I 
undertake to unearth your temperance friend, and to put 
you in the way of getting quits with him. That part of the 
work will be for you to do, and if you do it effectually he 
will only get what he deserves for his dishonesty.' 

' Those temperance preachers !' reflected Mr. Einch aloud. 
' I wouldn't like to go into a crowd of them with my watch 
and chain on. I wouldn't even toss with them for drinks. 
Give me the man that likes his twopenn'orth of gin — that's 
the chap I can trust !' He sipped noisily at his grog. 

'Leave the arrangements to me,' continued Mr. Byers 
— ' and don't stir out of doors. I may come back at any 
time — perhaps not till this evening, perhaps not till to- 
morrow. Don't be alarmed if my absence should be pro- 
longed. I must see how the land lies, and bring you back 
something definite. Ah, what clever boys we are from 
London, are we not ? What should we do — whatever 
should we do — without poor old grandpa, who has practi- 
cally retired from business ?' After which playful thrust, 
and before departing, Mr. Byers instructed his juniors in 
the methods of filling up fallaciously the police sheets of the 
Paris hotels. 

Sir John and Mr. Finch found that the hours hung 
heavily on their hands throughout the day. They had 
their meals served in their apartment, and, as invalids, did 


their best to restrain their appetites. When they were not 
eating, or taking a nap, they played at cards, although each 
knew that the other habitually cheated, and each preferred 
to play with his own pack, reproaching the other at the 
same time for his want of confidence. 

A curious incident occurred later. Overcome by their 
fatigue, they dropped off to sleep almost as soon as they 
had disrobed themselves and retired fco their respective 
couches for the night. Their regular breathing presently 
became louder, and continued both loud and rhythmical : 
the profound sleep of the good man and the weary was 
indubitably theirs. But Pinch, alias Walker, seemed to be 
subject to somnambulism. Still breathing in the vigorous 
cadence to which we have alluded, he gradually slid out of 
the high mahogany bedstead he was occupying, and went 
through a series of movements which might have appeared 
surreptitious, if detected by Sir John. No light was burn- 
ing in the room, but the rays of a street lamp just caught 
their window and faintly illuminated the interior. Mr. 
Finch bad the air of stealthily proceeding towards his com- 
panion's garments. Yes, it was certainly towards this point 
that he had directed his course, for he was now engaged in 
the examination of the pockets, and, that process over, be 
very carefully inspected the lining of the small black leather 
bag. Had he mistaken these objects for his own? The 
spectator who might have adopted this conclusion would 
have most probably revised his judgment when he perceived 
the somnambulist turn in the direction of Sir John. Arrived 
at the latter's bedside, he stood there apparently surveying 
his relaxed features and listening to the measure of his 
notes. Such a remarkable fixity of attention, such obedi- 
ence to a paramount idea, will not astonish any persons 
learned in the phenomena of somnambulism. 

Finch, alias Walker, extended his left hand, and began 
gently — oh, most gently — to insinuate it under the pillow of 
his sleeping partner. The digital dexterity of Mr. Finch 
must have been from his earliest years cultivated to the 
acme of perfection. An ivory paper-knife inserted between 
the bolster and the mattress could hardly have caused a 
slighter derangement than the advance of that supple 
palm ; it was impossible that the motion should wake the 


' "When you've clone !' suddenly remarked Vine, alias 
Grainger, in a tone of expostulation. 

' Ah, that's exactly what I thought,' replied the somnam- 
bulist imperturbably. ' I would have laid a thousand on 
it. A nice man to come away with, this is ! Shams 
sleep the very first night — puts the double on, with a pal. 
All right !' 

' No offence, I hope ?' inquired Sir John ironically. 

'All right— all right!' 

' I was dreaming that I had found the man we want,' 
continued Sir John, in the same tone. 

' And I was dreaming that I had found the property !' 

' You had better dream that over again, and take a note 
of the address,' retorted Sir John. 


Ixspegtok Byde had finished his breakfast ; and he had 
also finished questioning the waiter on the presumable 
ingredients of a sauce which helped the thinking faculty, 
he said, and which he would have been pleased to see 
acclimatised to Camberwell. He was now reclining with a 
certain majesty upon the red velveteen cushions of the cafe 
attached to the Terminus Hotel. Prom the half-dozen 
articles he had brought out of his pocket previously, and 
arrayed upon the table, he selected the leathern cases that 
contained respectively a large pipe and a little one. The 
indecision with which he regarded their competing charms 
might have seemed trivial in a person of his years — and 
quite unworthy of a man so justly respected in so serious a 
vocation — to anyone unacquainted with his ways. The 
inspector had two pipes, because he had two moods. His 
present mood, however, was after all not the anxious one; 
it was the mood of roseate calm, sanguine tranquillity. He 
therefore took up the smaller calumet ; and, after loading 
its wooden bowl with tobacco of a golden hue, he smiled 
long and placidly at a gay advertisement exposed upon the 
>wall in front of him, without becoming in the least aware of 
its poematic and pictorial purport. 

Thus absorbed, he undoubtedly did not notice a manly 


form which appeared before the entrance to the cafe from 
the street, which crossed the threshold dubiously, and which 
afc length advanced straight towards him. The manly form 
halted at the inspector's table, and sank into a seat. It was 

1 Take a nip,' said Byde laconically, after a sharp glance. 

He pushed the tray, with the diminutive decanter and 
glass, across the table to his colleague. 

' They've got away,' announced Toppin, looking very 

' How was that ?' 

Toppin explained that about the movements of the parties 
he had been commissioned to follow there had been nothing 
suspicious until they left the Halles. They had driven to 
the Central Markets and had come away again, and it was 
only when they were returning from that point that he dis- 
covered grounds for suspicion in their behaviour. The cab 
was evidently pursuing a circuitous route, inasmuch as the 
coachman turned back from the Halles and partly retraced 
his steps. Pulling up at an ordinary district post-office, 
which was not yet open for the day, the cabman had de- 
scended from his place to drop a missive of some sort into 
the box. No one but the driver had descended ; of that he 
felt quite positive. The cab had then gone off to a different 
locality altogether. He was careful to keep the vehicle in 
view, and when it stopped once more at a tavern, he was 
certain that, in this instance also, the driver was the only 
individual who alighted. After a slight delay the journey 
was resumed at a quick pace ; and what was his astonish' 
ment when eventually the vehicle pulled up at a cabstand, 
and took a station at the extremity of the rank as though 
no party or parties were inside it ! Hardly knowing whether 
to show himself or not, he hesitated for some time to ap- 
proach the vehicle. When he did go up to it there was, 
sure enough, but a single occupant — the coachman, who 
had made himself comfortable inside with the object of 
enjoying a nap. This man was half asleep and half intoxi- 
cated. All he could elicit from him with regard to his 
last ' fare ' was that they were people who did not know 
their own mind, and that they had discharged him at the 

' I don't believe this,' wound up Mr. Toppin, ' but I've 


taken his number. If they threw me off at the Halles, it 
must have been done as quick as lightning.' 

' And to have been done as quick as lightning, it must 
have been done because they saw you following them,' 
answered his colleague. ' I should recommend you to go 
and find them again. It's very likely they'll be wanted.' 

Inspector Byde then briefly informed Detective Toppin 
of the new aspect which the case of the Wilmot diamonds 
had assumed. The discovery of the murder had been made 
soon after Toppin' s departure on his errand of watching the 
two suspicious characters to whom their attention had been 
called by the telegrams from Scotland Yard. It was a great 
pity the men had eluded him. 

' I did not think it could be so urgent,' pleaded Toppin. 

' Well, now, what would be the procedure here in a matter 
of this kind ? What will be done with the body?' 

' That depends a good deal on the police commissary- 
attached to the terminus. It would be left to his discretion 
whether the body should be removed at once to the Morgue, 
or be retained during the day at the station, for the purposes 
of the inquiry. A commissary at one place might decide 
one way, whilst another commissary might decide the ocher 
way. It might depend on the circumstances of the case ; 
but it might also depend,' added Toppin, recovering his 
assurance as he gave his colleague these particulars. ' upon 
the intelligence of the commissary or on his ambition. If 
he wants to bring himself before public notice he might keep 
the body where it is as long as possible in order to have the 
control of the investigation. If he wants to avoid trouble 
or extra work he would send it on to the Morgue at once, 
having made his notes and taksn all the necessary evidence 
on the spot as soon as possible. The matter is left a good 
deal to his discretion, but there are other functionaries to 
be borne in mind too. There is the juge d' instruction, or 
magistrate, charged with the preliminary investigation of a 
crime ; and I believe the Procureur de la Eepublique would 
come in at this early stage. It is difficult to say where the 
jurisdictions of these officials begin and end ; they don't 
always appear to know themselves. And even if their 
functions are well defined and don't conflict, I have known 
of jealousies among these officials which have hampered 
criminal investigations from the outset.' 


* But for the identification of Kemington — how will they 
manage, supposing that nothing to identify him should be 
found upon the body '?' 

' Why, you can identify him yourself !' 

' Yes ; and that s what I particularly mean to abstain 
from doing. And you will greatly assist me, Mr. Toppin, 
by forgetting absolutely, so far as the French authorities 
are concerned, all that I have told you as to Kemington and 
the Wilmot affair. You do not know the name or business 
of the deceased ; you learnt his case from the ordinary 
channels, remember — the newspapers this afternoon, if you 
like ; and you place yourself at the disposal of the French 
police to take measures for ascertaining the identity Now, 
what I want to know is will this corpse be publicly ex- 

' Yes ; that is why it will be removed to the Morgue — for 
the purposes of identification.' 

' Very well. It goes to the Morgue, where anyone can 
enter and see it. Now, do you think the body will be 
taken to the Morgue, for public exposure, by this after- 
noon ?' 

' This afternoon ? Yes ; certainly. It may be on its 
way there now If you desired to examine the scene of 
the occurrence, before the corpse was moved, I could have 
arranged that for you with the commissary of the station. 
But I am afraid you would be too late now ; and then you 
don't wish me to appear in the case just yet.' 

Did Toppin suspect his colleague of a wish to keep him in 
the background ? Was all the credit in this case, which 
promised to turn out a first-rate affair, to be monopolised 
ty a man already covered with distinction like Byde ? 
Toppin seemed to think it hard that this could be possible. 
What could Inspector Byde, with all his foresight, perse- 
verance, and ability, accomplish in a place like Paris, if he 
had not at his elbow Toppin's knowledge of the Parisians 
and their city, and Toppin's intelligence ! 

' I took all the notes I want, I think — as to the appear- 
ances at the scene of the occurrence— before the commissary 
was out of bed. I want to know about what time the body 
would be exhibited for identification. That, however, we 
can soon calculate on learning when the transfer to the 
Morgue has taken place, if it should have already taken 



place. Anybody about here would enlighten us as to whether 
the commissary has kept the body in the station or sent it 
on. The waiter will be in presently with a piece of infor- 
mation for me, and he will know.' 

Toppin evidently wondered what could be the nature of 
this piece of information, but he did not ask. He was 
under the orders of his colleague, and the latter had ap- 
parently got to work on some tack or traces of his own. 

' Are we looking for the murderer ?' ventured Toppin im- 
pulsively, ' or these valuables — you and I, I mean ?' He 
reddened, as if he felt he had said something foolish. ' Be- 
cause,' he added, nettled at the expression of patient en- 
durance with which the inspector received this query, ' the 
French police are very susceptible of interference. We may 
be quite in order on the subject of the diamond robbery ; 
but the murder is their affair, not ours.' 

' If we find the diamonds for ourselves, we may find the 
murderer for them; if they find the murderer for themselves, 
they may find the diamonds for us !' 

The waiter returned at this instant with no doubt the 
piece of information of which mention had been made. 

' The slip of paper was not discovered by the com- 
missary, monsieur,' he said, addressing Inspector Byde. 
' It was picked up by one of the employes of the railway 
before the commissary arrived, but was handed to him 
when he came to draw up his report. The employe found 
it near the door farthest away from the body of this un- 
fortunate gentleman. Ah, messieurs, what a terrible event ! 
"What could have been the motive of such a dreadful crime ? 
Don't you think it may have been a case of suicide ? The 
commissary believes that the unfortunate gentleman has 
fallen a victim to a secret society, because none of the 
valuables about him were disturbed. Do you believe that 
he has been assassinated for political reasons, monsieur — 
assassinated by the members of some secret society ? I 
can't think so myself ; I never heard of any such cases in 
Battersea during the whole time I was there, and I fancy 1 
know the English people 1' 

' Did you remember what I asked you to ascertain 
exactly ? Did you ascertain exactly whereabouts in the 
compartment the slip of paper was found ?' 

' Why, yes, monsieur. I did not forget, being interested 


in this terrible occurrence, and likewise in the painful pos- 
sibility of the deceased being that relative of monsieur who 
might have travelled by the train from Amiens, though, as 
monsieur said, it was most unlikely, seeing that he had 
business which prevented his leaving that town during the 
whole of the present week ; though one never knows what 
may happen at any moment to change one's plans or habits : 
witness the hatter in the same street as my brother-in-law, 
who never went out on a foggy evening, and never would, 
until one afternoon his uncle came from the Mauritius, and 
they went to the theatre together — I forget the name of the 
piece, but it was a theatre high up on the boulevard — and 
the night being a foggy one, the hatter coughed so much 
that he came home earlier than the uncle, through a short 
cut, and was assassinated and robbed, though he had 
nothing in his pockets but seven francs forty-five centimes, 
and a silver watch that never marked the hour ; whilst the 
uncle from the Mauritius, who had amassed a fortune and 
wore jewellery such as a prince might not have been 
ashamed of, walked home three hours later, very gay, and 
was unmolested. It could not have been the relative of 
monsieur, because my confrere, Monsieur Aristide, the 
second waiter at the restaurant farther along, heard the 
commissary state to his subordinate on the platform of the 
station that the ticket in the possession of the deceased was 
right through from London to Paris, and had been booked 
the night before, that is to say, for the mail-train itself. As 
for the slip of paper which I spoke of to monsieur, it might 
easily have escaped attention, for it lay partly under one of 
the seats at the far end.' 

' At the far end ? — that is to say. at a distance from the 
body of this passenger?' 

' So I learnt, monsieur, from the employe, thanks to the 
piece of money I remitted to him in obedience to the in- 
structions of monsieur, whose anxiety I trust is now ap- 
peased, the unfortunate passenger being manifestly, as his 
railway-ticket proves, not the relative of monsieur who 
resides at Amiens, and who might by chance have travelled 
in the train, though all doubt could be set at rest by a tele- 
graphic message despatched to Amiens, if monsieur does 
not wish to go to the Morgue and view the body, where it 
will be exposed this afternoon, the commissary having 



stated that before the inquiry could make any progress the 
identification must have been disposed of. By this time, 
probably, the body has been delivered at the Morgue.' 

' Did the porter, or whoever the railway servant was, de- 
scribe the slip of paper to you ?' 

' Yes ; it was a single sheet of white paper, like English 
note-paper, and it had been folded once — just doubled.' 

' And this writing you speak of — where were the charac- 
ters traced ?' 

' On the inside. The name and address had been written 
along the single sheet of paper, and it had then been folded 
in two — like that, the employe told me '■ — the waiter illus- 
trated his meaning by folding up the ornate bill of fare. 

' And the address— could he give you any idea of it ?' 

' Oh no, monsieur, except that there were two letters at 
the end of it. He knows that " London " means " Londres ;" 
but it did not say " London." It said " S.W " The name 
he could read, because it is a name we have in France — 
" Adelaide." ' 

' Did the commissary make any remark when the slip of 
paper was handed to him ?' inquired Toppin. 

Before replying, the waiter looked at Toppin's colleague, 
as if for assurance as to the locus standi of the new-comer. 
The inspector nodded, and the waiter quoted the com- 
missary of police to the effect that the slip of paper must 
have been dropped by some person sitting near the far door 
of the compartment — perhaps by the deceased himself 
before changing his seat, for there was nothing to prove 
that the deceased had occupied the same place in the com- 
partment throughout the journey. 

' Was there any stain upon the paper — any mark of blood, 
for instance?' inquired Inspector Byde. 

' No ;' the waiter had expressly put that question, because 
he was aware of the great importance of blood-stains on 
objects found near persons suspected to have been mur- 
dered. He had read of a most extraordinary instance, in 
fact, in a newspaper taken at the hotel — not in the ' events 
cf the day,' but in a life-like story which had been running 
through its columns and had been collected by the chamber- 
maid of the first floor in order to be bound — ' The Fortune- 
teller's Prediction ; or, the Posthumous Vengeance of the 
Murdered Heir.' The first thing he had asked the employe 


was whether there had been blood-stains upon this piece of 
paper, and he had felt exceedingly disappointed to learn 
tliat there were no stains of any description upon it. 
' Monsieur will pardon me the indiscretion,' pursued the 
waiter after a pause — ■' but would monsieur be, by hazard, 
connected at all with the English police ?' 

' I !' exclaimed the inspector, laughing heartily, ' con- 
nected with the police ? Ask this gentleman ! Where did 
you get such an idea as that '?' 

' From the station, monsieur — only vaguely, vaguely — 
monsieur will excuse me ' — and the waiter joined heartily 
in the laugh at the ridiculous nature of his own supposition. 
' It seems that an agent of the English police obtained a 
view of the compartment before M. le Commissaire himself, 
and that he took some notes, which has greatly angered 
M. le Commissaire, who says for all we know he may have 
taken not only his notes but something else besides. And 
since monsieur has no connection with the police I may be 
permitted the liberty of explaining that no one of my family 
has ever been able to endure that class, and that I should 
have personally much regretted rendering monsieur the as- 
sistance I have sought to render him by interrogating the 
employe of the railway. I thought, perhaps, from the in- 
terest exhibited in the unfortunate occurrence — but monsieur 
is perhaps architect ?' He glanced at the diagrams, with 
letters of the alphabet here and there, traced upon the 
margin of the table. 

' Just imagine that he should have divined it !' ejaculated 
the inspector, turning with open admiration towards hia 
colleague. ' What clever people they are, now, all these 
foreigners, are they not? You haven't heard him speak 
English yet ; but he speaks it so well, in the purest accent 
of London, that you and I, being from the country, might 
not do ill to take a lesson or two. It was in Battersea that 
his studies were industriously prosecuted — and he knows 
the language — oh, he knows it ! !' 

' Oh, yes — very well— London,' assented the waiter, for 
Mr. Toppin's benefit ; ' I speak in Battersea always the 
most pure.' 

' And just to think that he should have guessed it — . 
architect ! What clever people they all are to be sure 1' 
Mr. Byde directed the waiter to bring him the hotel police- 


sheet, on which he had purposely deferred registering 
particulars anent himself. He then inscribed upon that 
precious record that Mr. Byde, architect, forty-five years of 
age, had travelled to Paris from the town of Brighton, 
in the department of Sussex ; country, England. ' So that 
you will know, if telegrams or letters are delivered here for a 
Mr. Byde, that they are for me,' he added. ' "What a help, 
Toppin,' observed the inspector, as the waiter bore away the 
police-book, ' if we had all these papers to work from in 
England ! How we could trace aliases, hey — how we 
could pounce upon stolen property before it had been passed 
along !' 

' Yes,' replied Toppin, ' and people sometimes do fill them 
up honestly by mistake.' 

' Architect ! — well, well ! — simple enough, and yet who'd 
have found it ?' Mr. Byde effaced the diagrams drawn in 
pencil on the marble table. ' And so we are, architects : of 
other people's fortunes — or fates.' 

' That young man who has been to Battersea looks to me 
as if he might be in the pay of the police himself,' said 
Toppin. ' This is just the right spot for keeping an eye on 
suspicious arrivals and departures, and he would not talk 
openly like that about the police for nothing. He is just the 
sort of simpleton the Prefecture would get for their money 
— just the naif with a mixture of cunning. What can you 
expect ? They can't get clever people for their terms. 
They want agents everywhere, but they can't afford to pay 
such a number well.' 

' We must see that slip of paper, if possible, Toppin ; we 
must have that address, if it should be an address. You 
can have heard of this affair by chance, and you know 
nothing at all about Bemington's identity. Can you manage 
it before the afternoon ?' 

' I think I can ; though it will only be because they know 
me. It will be necessary to ascertain whether the commis- 
sary has kept the paper for his own report, or sent it on to 
the Morgue with the body, or handed it over already to the 
Juge d'Instruction ; and that may occupy a little time.' 

' Notice whether the address was in a feminine hand- 

Is there a woman in this case ?' 

' The name Adelaide is a name I like,' said Mr. Byde, 


He knocked the ashes out of the wooden bowl, and 
restored the smaller of the two pipes to its leathern case. 

' Shall we walk down together ?' suggested Toppin. 

' I want to put on my considering-cap,' said the inspector. 

He opened the bulkier case in black leather, and from a 
nest as soft as eider-down extracted a pipe in massive 
meerschaum. While he filled and lighted it, and drew from 
its capacious bowl half a dozen preliminary puffs, the 
inspector imported into his face an expression of such deep 
thought that his colleague did not venture to break in with 
any queries, or for the moment to follow up their conversa- 
tion. The case had evidently a feminine side : did the 
inspector aim at keeping this from him ? 

' Coming on nicely, isn't it !' remarked the inspector, at 
length, taking the pipe from his mouth, and complacently 
surveying the tinged meerschaum. The bowl was carved 
into the semblance of a sphinx, and was capped with a 
small plate of silver. The base had been smoked into a 
rich amber tint, the forehead of the sphinx was sallow, a 
tawny blush was mantling in the cheeks. 

' A fine bit of meerschaum,' answered Toppin, with sup- 
pressed irritation. 

' A present,' pursued his colleague. ' That pipe was given 
to me by a poor man who would have gone away for five 
years' " penal " if it hadn't been for me. The evidence was 
all against him, you would have said , no jury would have 
hesitated. I brought the right man into the dock only just 
in time. When the other was set free, he would have given 
me everything that belonged to him, and the neighbours in 
the street he lives in — it was only last Michaelmas — began 
to subscribe for a testimonial to Inspector Byde. I let the 
man give me this pipe, and what it has done for me during 
the past three months is something wonderful. I don't have 
to smoke at it long. The very last case I was in, the case I 
had before they put me on to this one — the alleged mysteri- 
ous disappearance in the north of London, which I dare say 
you read of in the papers — mightn't have been solved for 
ever so long if it hadn't been for this meerschaum pipe. I 
was smoking it when I hit upon the idea which gave us the 
key to that ingenious little arrangement. It's coming on 
nicely ; but I shall be sorry to see it coloured, all the same.' 

' The slip of paper found in the compartment,' began 


Toppin, again, ' need not have been dropped where it wa3 
found. Suppose it had been dropped near the other door, 
by the side of the victim, the draught from the window, if it 
was open, or a single gust of wind from that door, if it had 
been left open for a moment or two, might have easily 
drifted it along to the spot where it was discovered.' 

' And so ?' 

' And so I conclude that no matter how the assassin 
entered the compartment, and whether he was there two 
minutes or two hours, the address on that scrap of paper 
may lead us to him ; although we know that in practice 
criminals don't generally carry about with them incrimina- 
tory morsels of paper ready to be dropped out of their 
pockets, at the right moment for the cause of justice. 
Still, there's no reason why it shouldn't happen — it's not 
impossible. Don't you think the address might lead us to 
the guilty person.' 

' It might.' 

' Then you agree with me that this piece of paper may 
have belonged to the person who was the thief and mur- 
derer ?' 

' It may have belonged to him.' 

' And fell from his pocket, we will say, as he was stooping 
over the victim — at any rate, was dropped by him accident- 
ally ?' 


' How then ?' 

' It may have belonged to him — yes ; it might indirectly 
lead us up to his identity — yes ; but that a compromising 
half-sheet of note-paper, just doubled, as we have heard, 
should be carried by an intending criminal in any such place 
as an open pocket, from which it could easily fall, at exactly 
the wrong instant for him — no, Toppin ! We see that sort 
of thing sometimes, at the theatre, when we take our wives ; 
but you know as well as I do ' 

' What's the alternative suggestion?' 

' The address may possibly incriminate another person.' 


' The slip of paper may have been very carefully placed 
by the assassin himself where it was found.' 

' Is that your view?' 

' No.' 


' "What do you say then, inspector ?' demanded Toppin. 

' I say that the half-sheet of paper, doubled, may have 
belonged to the deceased. I say that it may have been 
lying in the inner pocket of the vest, and that when that 
pocket was turned inside out, or when some other article 
was snatched from it, this pieco of paper may have fallen 
out, and floated to the spot where it was found. Whether 
the assassin noticed the paper or not, would not matter. 
He would have no motive for taking it away — quite the 
contrary. He would be more likely to throw down anything 
which was not the particular object he came for. What 
was done was done in a hurry. He had no time to replace 
things — besides, why should he replace them ?' 

' Granting all that, what becomes of the use of the 
address to us ? We know who the victim is — we want to 
find the assassin.' 

' So would other people want to find the assassin, viz., 
the original thieves. We don't know who they are, but 
they must have had their plans laid, and this property will 
be worth their taking some trouble over. Certainly, if I am 
right, this address won't help us to the identity of the 
assassin ; but it may help us to the mode of the theft, 
in the first place. We had better see this half-sheet of note- 

The two colleagues relapsed into silence. Inspector Byde 
was finishing his pipe, and staring down the cafe into the 
street, when he abruptly started to his feet, bundled the 
sphinx into its velvet resting-place, and gave Toppin some 
hurried instructions for the afternoon. Toppin was to go on 
to the Morgue, after busying himself about the address, and 
was to watch the persons who might visit that building to 
view the body. At the Morgue he would be rejoined by his 
colleague. In another second the inspector was in the 

The fact was that from his seat in the cafe he could see 
the entrance to the telegraph-office over the way, and that 
a figure just passing into that establishment had caught his 
attention. The passenger from Scotland Yard had recog- 
nised the temperance lecturer, Brother Neel. It was to 
' put on his considering cap ' that Mr. Byde had lingered at 
the Terminus Hotel ; and he was reflecting, as he now 
hastened across the road, that what he owed to that piece 


of valuable meerschaum was extraordinary — was really, the 
more he thought of it, quite undeniable, and most extra- 


Brother Neel, in issuing from the Telegraph Office, 
looked neither to the right nor to the left, but at a quick 
pace returned upon his path, directing his steps towards 
a by-street in the immediate vicinity of the Northern 

The building into which he disappeared was one of the 
second or third rate hotels that abound near all the large 
railway-stations of Paris. In plain black characters the 
name Hotel des Nations extended across the plaster facade. 
Inspector Byde noted the pretentious title, and endeavoured 
to discover the designation of the street. He had just spelt 
out ' Bue de Compiegne ' from the metal tablet on a corner 
house, when the temperance lecturer reappeared in the 
street, and set off on foot in the direction of the Bue 

Descending this long thoroughfare, with a pre-occupied 
and earnest mien which testified to his absorption in the 
humanitarian purposes of the I.O.T.A., Brother Neel abated 
his speed only when he found himself approaching the rear 
of the Grand Opera House. He turned off to the right- 
hand, and proceeded for a short distance along the Boule- 
vard Haussmann. It was clear that he was well acquainted 
with the particular spot which formed the objective of 
his journey, for, without pausing to regard any of the num- 
bers, he presently turned into one of the entrances with 
such abruptness that he ran against an individual just then 
passing out. Inspector Byde himself, taken rather un- 
awares, pulled up more brusquely than he would have 
considered creditable in a subordinate — Toppin, for instance 
— had he been playing the part of a spectator merely, and 
not one of the principal personages. He loitered at the 
uninteresting window of a paper-hanger's shop, and while 
admiring fragmentary patterns of impossible flowers, en- 
deavoured to keep an eye upon the doorway through which 
Brother Neel had unexpectedly vanished. He waited, and 


waited ; there was no sign whatever of Brother Neel. The 
inspector would have liked to examine the premises his 
friend was visiting ; but suppose that, at the very moment 
he reached the door, he met him coming out again ? That 
might prove slightly awkward for his operations in the 
future, and would be handicapping his chances prematurely. 
There was not much danger, nevertheless, of his being 
identified with the passenger from London who had worn 
the large blue spectacles and had been so heavily muffled 
up. Suppose the building had a double issue, and the 
temperance lecturer had dexterously led him up to one side 
of it in order to leave him there while he very promptly 
walked out at the other ? For an instant the inspector felt 
quite nervous. Any such conduct as that would inrply — no, 
it could hardly be ! — and besides, he was quite certain that 
he had followed his man much too cleverly to be detected. 
And, then, did he not know the Hotel des Nations, in the 
Eue de Compiegne ? Ah ! but — how could he say that that 
address had anything to do with Brother Neel ? A pretty 
state of affairs if he and Toppin were both, in the same 
morning, to allow their quarry to slip away. 

Inspector Byde moved warily up to the portals of the 
spacious vestibule into which the temperance lecturer had 
plunged. As he glanced along the handsome corridor he 
half-expected to find that it communicated directly with 
another thoroughfare. On the contrary, his gaze was 
arrested at the extremity by the high walls of a courtyard, 
relieved here and there by evergreen shrubs in large buckets. 
Two or three neat zinc plates, bearing the names of business 
firms, confronted the visitor from the lintel of the door. 
Upon one of these he read, ' International Organization of 
Total Abstainers (E. J Bamber), 8e etage.' 

Capital ! Here was he — the great man sent from head- 
quarters on special duty — almost thrown for a moment 
iuto a condition of panic like the veriest novice, and the 
next moment, like the veriest novice, surprised to dis- 
cover that a simple tale had been the true one. Out of 
sorts a little, perhaps — want of sleep ? The inspector 
looked about him. Nearly opposite stood an establishment 
within which he could perceive both masculine and feminine 
heads regarding pleasantly in his direction. Their cheeks 
were tinted with a delicate rose ; ' all day the same their 


postures were. And they said nothing all the day.' If the 
flowing whisker which the gentlemen exhibited had in each 
case the aspect of belonging to someone else, the tresses of 
the beauteous dames who arched their necks so proudly 
looked as though they never could have belonged to anyone 
in this world, into such imposing structures had they been 
built by the expert hands of a Parisian hairdresser. ' Eng- 
lish spoken here.' This announcement in gilt letters ap- 
parently aided the inspector to arrive at a decision. He 
made the shortest of detours, traversed the boulevard, and 
strolled into the hairdresser's premises. By installing him- 
self in a favourable place, and obstinately remaining in it, 
he could still command an uninterrupted view of the entrance 
to the offices across the road. 

When his colleague had excused himself by asserting that 
if he had been thrown off the track that morning it must have 
been done ' as quick as lightning,' Inspector Byde had re- 
sponded that to have been done as quick as lightning it must 
have been done because the men in question saw that they 
were followed. That implied a reflection upon the skill 
which Detective Toppin brought to the performance of his 
professional duties. It, of course, also implied that the men 
in question had some reason for concealing their movements. 

Vine, alias Grainger, and Finch, alias Walker, were in- 
dubitably indicated by all the appearances of the case. 
Why on earth had he, Byde, planted himself in that barber's 
chair, with his eyes constantly levelled at the ground-floor 
entrance to the offices opposite ? It was true that under 
any circumstances he must have been condemned to inaction 
for the next few hours. The two suspicious characters 
designated in the first place by the telegrams from Scotland 
Yard must be sought for on the regular methods, and upon 
these Mr. Toppin was now engaged. The fact was, how- 
ever, that in the course of a long experience the inspector 
had acquired an almost morbid mistrust of the ' appear- 
ances ' of any case which presented matter calling for an 
interposition by the ' Yard.' But there was another reason 
that guided him. He looked steadily across the road at 
the headquarters of the society of whose humanitarian 
campaign Brother Neel was one of the zealous pioneers ; 
and perhaps his cogitations took a shape perfectly well 
known to his comrades cf the Yard, and commonly ex- 


pressed by those roguish persons in the simple formula, 
' He don't like 'em !' 

He did not like them — no, he ' could not cotton to ' (we are 
quoting the inspector in his hours of ease) ' the fellows who 
dressed themselves up in sham clerical clothes, wrote half 
a dozen initials after their names, and called themselves 
temperance missionaries or teetotal preachers !' It was his 
only bias, but he could not conquer it. When laying down 
rules of conduct for his son, he would occasionally remark, 
inverting the old rhyme, that where the prejudice was strong 
the judgment would be usually weak. Unlike a good many 
people who are similarly addicted to the practice of genera- 
lization, Mr. Byde always applied his dicta to himself, and 
did not merely frame them for the rest of the world. And 
consequently he was quite aware that this prejudice against 
an entire order constituted a weak place in his own 
character. But, although he did his best, he could not 
overcome this odd antipathy. He did not like vain and 
idle folk; and when he was safe at home would scornfully 
dilate upon the idleness and vanity of these fellows who 
dressed themselves up in sham clerical clothes — a line of 
denunciation which w T as by no means justified by facts. 
He did not like these gentlemen, however, and once upon 
a time his dislike of them had led him into a dreadful mis- 
take. The blunder was notorious, and the organ of the 
I.O.T.A. in the press had made good capital out of it, con- 
troversially, ever since. 

The elegant and jewelled young man, pitted with the 
small-pox, who was attending gracefully to the inspector's 
needs, cut his hair very short, trimmed his beard to a point, 
and curled the waxed ends of his moustache sardonically 
upward. The inspector caught a glimpse in a mirror of the 
metamorphosis thus wrought in him, and gazed at his new 
head with some astonishment and respect. 

' That youthfuls you,' observed the artist, noticing his 
look. ' If you came to me all the days I would arrange 
you with much taste. You are bettaire like that than 
icfore. The ladies take you like that for cavalry officer. 
In France the ladies like very much officers !' 

Mr. Byde asked whether the customers of the establish- 
ment included any English people. 

"Why, yes ! great many, from the large hotels close by — 


English people from Canada, America, London— all sorts ; 
that was how he learned to speak the language. 

Mr. Byde did not mean travellers. He meant residents, 
people living in the neighbourhood. Perhaps there were 
none living in the neighbourhood ? 

Oh, pardon ! There was the English gentleman who kept 
the bar just down the street — un bien cliarmant garcon : the 
best dressed person of all his customers — and, tenez ! there 
was Monsieur Bambaire, who resided opposite — Monsieur 
Bambaire, who was the agent of a great English society. 
The artist went to a drawer and produced from it a hand- 
bill, adding as he passed it to his questioner that here was a 
circulaire of Monsieur Bambaire. 

The inspector gathered from the handbill that the large 
lecture -room, library, and conversation - rooms of the 
I.O.T.A. were now open at the address given below. All 
persons, irrespective of sex or nationality, were eligible for 
membership on payment of the small subscription collected 
in advance quarterly, half-yearly, or annually. Lectures 
three times a week. Conversaziones. Eull advantages of 
membership set forth in the prospectuses, to be obtained 
from Brother E. J Bamber, superintendent of Paris branch, 
Boulevard Haussmann. The site of the large lecture-room, 
library, conversation-rooms, etc., lay in the Eue Eeydeau. 
A special appeal to English-speaking residents in Paris 
terminated the circular. 

The artist addressed a question in his own turn. Monsieur 
would be able to enlighten him as to the nature of this 
association. He had been enrolled in it by Monsieur Bam- 
baire, who had pointed to the lowness of the terms, and to 
the opportunities which would be afforded him of making 
the acquaintance of English heiresses, the facile prey of any 
fascinating Parisian. He had paid one visit to the new 
premises in the Eue Feydeau, but on that occasion there 
were no heiresses present. Was not the society, however, 
invested with some political character? had it not some 
secret object, either reactionary or revolutionary ? He had 
entered it in order not to forfeit the goodwill of Monsieur 
Bambaire, long a regular client, but of course he had his 
own position to think of, and the political police of Paris 
kept their eyes wide open. Mr. Byde explained the philan- 
thropic purposes of the I.O.T.A., but saw that his account 


of this and kindred bodies in England only excited utter 
incredulity. League yourselves together for no other reason 
than that it suited you to abstain from alcohol ! — ah, non, 
par example ' — trop forte, celle-la ! — Did he not think, then, 
that the future of the I.O.T.A. was of a particularly 
promising description so far as Paris was concerned ? No, 
he should rather imagine he didn't, on such a basis as had 
been described to him by monsieur. He had heard of some- 
thing of the kind in France : a French temperance society 
whose members drank wine freely, but engaged themselves 
against the abuse of alcohol ; but total abstention ! ah, no 
— monsieur knew very well (and here the artist half-closed 
his eyes and tossed his head repeatedly, with an air of great 
significance) that to assign such a motive as that for the 
foundation of a society, with council, secretaries, agents, 
and all the rest of it, was not treating him seriously, as 
man to man. 

Inspector Byde responded that he could not conjecture 
what other aims could actuate the society. To inform him- 
self more fully upon the subject he would step across and 
seek an interview with Monsieur Bamber. When that 
gentleman made his next call upon the artist the latter 
might repeat their conversation, if he chose ; Monsieur 
Bamber would recollect his (the speaker's) visit, and might 
consider that he owed it to the artist's zeal and friendly 

On mounting to the third floor of the building opposite 
the inspector found the residence of Brother Bamber 
indicated by a small brass-plate, very brightly polished. 
His summons was quickly answered by a female domestic 

' Monsieur Bambaire ?' demanded the visitor. 

'Engaged for the moment,' returned the domestic sharply. 

' I will wait,' said the inspector, and he at once moved 
into the ante-chamber. 

' What name shall I announce to monsieur ?' 

' Oh, he won't know my name ; I am a stranger to him 

' Is it on the business of the International ?' 

' Yes, on the business of the International.' 

' Monsieur has his card, no doubt ?' 

The inspector took a blank card out of his pocket-book 1 


and wrote upon it in lead-pencil, ' Mr. Smithson— passing 
through Paris — ventures to address himself to Monsieur 
Bamber, of the I.O.T.A., for information as to progress 
accomplished by this interesting movement.' Watching 
him as he was thus occupied, the smartly-attired French 
maid-servant, whose tone and manner had been acidly im- 
pertinent, softened at the spectacle of his military mous- 
tache, and inhaled quite pleasurably the perfumes with 
which the inspector had just been inundated. She received 
the card with a coquettish smile, and tripped into one of the 
apartments communicating with the vestibule. There was 
an appreciative expression about the inspector's face, as he 
gazed after her. He had an eye for the sex when he was 
out of his own country. 

Yes, his expression was most thoroughly appreciative. 
His instantaneous processes of induction had already led 
him far. This Brother Bamber ? 

Inspector Byde brought his hand down heavily on the 
arm of the chair. Would he never subdue that mischievous 
prejudice ? The dreadful blunder he had perpetrated — was 
it to teach him no lesson ? Was he fated to repeat it, and 
would he be lured on to a second disastrous error by some 
illusively apparent possibility of redeeming the first ? 

The sprightly French maid returned with the message 
that Monsieur Bamber, being extremely busy, begged to 
be excused just then, but that madame could furnish the 
visitor with the information he desired, if Monsieur Smithson 
would be good enough to wait for some few minutes. Mr. 
Byde was perfectly willing to wait, he said ; and he directed 
a professional scrutiny at the damsel who delivered the 
message. The report he drew up mentally of this young 
person might have been of a less flattering nature than she 
seemed to suppose. She furtively smoothed her raven 
locks ; and, as she looked upward at her interlocutor pressed 
her chin down tightly against her chest in order that her 
large dark eyes should open widely and display their fullest 
lustre. Mr. Byde thanked her, and with a grim smile began 
to pace up and down the ante-chamber. He was familiar 
with all these feminine shows of artlessness. To encounter 
them in the ' vivacious French brunette ' appealed in a 
powerful degree to his rather cynical sense of humour. 

It was an old friend of his, who had lived a good deal on 


the Continent and in the foreign colonies of London, who 
used to attack so vehemently the consecrated phrases, 
' vivacious French brunette,' ' the exquisite politeness of old 
French marquesses,' ' typically impassive French duellist,' 
' fascination of the Parisian manner,' etc. He used to say 
that all those phrases were false, that some of them tho 
French themselves would be the last to claim. It would 
have been almost perilous to employ these stereotypes, under- 
stood to have been as a rule devised by lady writers, in com 
versation with the inspector's old friend on his bilious days ; 
and it was assuredly a symptom of intellectual decline that 
the ordinary illusions of ' piquant Pariaieiine,' ' bright and 
cheerful French waiting-maid, so willing and so clean,' 
'jolly little French girl — quite the grisette, don't you know, 
out of the Latin Quarter,' could sometimes deprive him of 
articulate speech, so misguided and inane they seemed to 
him. Of course he must have been hypersensitive and 
ultrabilious. At the same time, in such strange ways had 
his life been cast that he knew all about the dessous des 
cartes, that is to say, the ' wheels within wheels ' of the 
entire machinery. Anyone of the foregoing phrases, harm- 
less as they were, would launch him into some anecdote or 
narrative which, commonplace at the commencement, in- 
credible at the end, would be drawn from the dark stores of 
his own experience. The inspector had first met his old 
friend years before, amid surroundings which they never 
referred to afterwards, except when alone. He had a great 
respect for his old friend's erudition, by the way 

The passenger from Scotland Yard suddenly laughed 
outright. He was picturing this ' vivacious French brunette ' 
imported into the service of an honest middle-class English 
family. She had brushed by him with short, quick, studied 
steps, and with an air of unconsciousness that was delight- 
fully artificial. How pleasant, he thought maliciously, she 
would make herself towards the young ladies of the house — 
how materf amilias would extol her prompt obedience ! And 
then a day would come — well, well — whoever would have 
guessed it ! The interposition of the ' Yard ' was not de- 
manded always in these cases when they happened in 
England ; but materfamilias, who had possibly missed one 
or two of her most valuable trinkets as well, would resolve 
that no further importation of the same article should ever 



take place so far as her own household was concerned. The 
' vivacious French brunette,' however, who has graduated 
in the Paris faubourgs, seldom strays into a northern clime 
unless under circumstances independent of her choice. 
People from the northern climes are far more ready to 
travel southwards. The gay Lothario — 

' That haughty, gallant, gay Lothario, 
That dear perfidious !' 

— who graduates at Hoxton or at Cambridge, at Oxford or 
at Bosherville, at Richmond, Houndsditch, or the Hay- 
market, will not infrequently extend his researches to the 
seats of learning endowed in ' Parry.' But he looks vainly 
for Calista in the faubourgs. He encounters the vivacious 
brunette instead of that tearful penitent, and he probably 
observes that in the faubourien soil the tree of knowledge 
flourishes in the rankest luxuriance. Overweighted by his 
r6le, and for the occasion resigning it, Lothario perhaps 
reflects with bitterness that the true Calista was a much 
more tolerable person than this make-believe, whose bound- 
less lore he never, never would have suspected. What ! 
This vivacious French brunette, this piquant Parisienne, 
this bright and willing French waiting-maid, this ' jolly 
little French girl, don't you know, quite the grisette out of 
the Latin Quarter,' has been passing her lifetime under the 
shadow of a knowledge-tree whose giant variety was not 
even mentioned in the text-books of his Alma Mater ? Ah, 
Sir Lothario, yes ! If a native-born faubourienne, she has 
learnt many secrets from the lush branches of that tree. 
' Mr. Smithson?' 

The speaker was a lady who had advanced from one of 
the apartments into the ante-chamber. She was a pale 
and prematurely-wrinkled blonde, of a gentle and sympa- 
thetic expression of face. Her violet silk-dress, which 
rustled at every instant, was all awry, as though it had been 
hastily donned for the meeting with the visitor ; and with it 
had been assumed a mincing manner and an affected pro- 
nunciation, both sustained with difficulty, but well meant. 
The inspector, whose business took him everywhere, recog- 
nised the type of domestic martyr. 

' My husband is unfortunately occupied at the present 
moment on important business of the society,' pursued the 


lady ' If there is any information I can furnish I shall be 
most happy, I am sure. We are all enthusiasts in the good 

As a well-wisher to the cause, Mr. Byde held forth with 
great fluency on the general question, and followed these 
remarks up with professions of solicitude for the prospects 
of the International. It was a noble movement, he ob- 

' A noble movement, indeed,' concurred his hostess ; ' but 
we are still only at the outset of the good work. Funds are 
what we need most urgently, and all our friends should do 
their best to aid us in rendering our strenuous efforts fruit- 
ful. Are you a member, sir, of the I.O.T.A. ? — I do not 
think we have the name of Smithson on our list. The most 
practical way of helping on the good work is by personal 
membership, and by donations. I could enrol you in the 
society at once. We need no proposers and seconders, nor 
do we care to prosecute inquiries as to our new members, 
preferring to trust to their own assurances, to rely upon 
their own representations — for what is more demoralising 
than mistrust ? There is a nominal entrance-fee, and the 
subscription is payable in advance.' 

Mr. Byde would certainly be proud indeed to link himself 
to a grand enterprise that might prove the common salvation 
and unification of vast communities, hitherto separated 
sternly from one another by history, by language, and by 
race. But he must be so well known, he believed, at the 
headquarters of the International in London that the direc- 
tors there would take it ill of him if he entered the stream 
at any other point than at its fountain-head. A feeling of 
the deepest sympathy for the good work, together with an 
ardent wish to form the acquaintance of Brother Bamber, 
whose devotion to the temperance cause was famed through- 
out its ranks, had impelled him to venture these inquiries, 
profiting by a temporary visit to the French metropolis. 
He regretted to have presented himself at an inopportune 
moment ; Brother Bamber would naturally be absorbed by 
his regular duties at this particular period of the day. 

Oh dear no — not at all ! Mr. Bamber's onerous duties 
engrossed his time all day long, from morning until late, 
very late, at night ; but ordinarily he was accessible at any 
hour to w ell-wishers of the good work. The exceptional 

6— a 


occurrence which demanded his attention at the present 
moment was the visit of a colleague from headquarters. 
One of the most industrious and eloquent lecturers of the 
society had arrived that morning in Paris, having travelled 
from London by the night-mail. He was the bearer of in- 
structions and counsel from the board, and had of course at 
once sought an interview with her husband. If Mr. Smith- 
son could wait a little longer, both Brother Neel — the emi- 
nent lecturer to whom she had referred — and Mr. Bamber 
would be exceedingly happy to receive him. 

The conversation had continued in the drawing-room, 
which opened on to the vestibule. Mr. Byde could hear a 
murmur of voices in the apartment adjoining, and incident- 
ally remarked upon the fact. The voices were perhaps 
those of Brother Bamber and his colleague ? Yes, replied 
his hostess — the adjoining apartment served Mr. Bamber as 
his private office. 

' And what may have been the progress of the last three 
months, should you say?' inquired the inspector most 

' Much good work has been done by the International in 
Paris during the three months just ended — thanks, I may 
say, to my husband's untiring zeal and energy. The enrol- 
ments show an increase over the previous quarter, and they 
are at length becoming of a decidedly international character. 
We find that we have only to make the idea known to ensure 
recruits. The French are always greatly impressed by the 
novelty of the idea and its humanitarian character, as well 
as by the practical methods of the organization. Other 
bodies of the same order have appealed too exclusively to 
the young. Our society recruits its members irrespective of 
age, and of course from amongst all nationalities. We meet 
with obstacles, and, singularly enough, they are not raised 
by the general public, or by classes whose vested interests 
might suffer through our success ; our annoyances have 
occasionally sprung from the regularly-constituted authori- 
ties, who, it seems, misapprehend the nature of our associa- 
tion in the most extraordinary manner. My husband tells 
me that he has more than once been followed and watched 
by French detectives. We feel certain that there are 
members of both the criminal and political secret police who 
have enrolled themselves among us here ! Odd, is it not ?' 


Mrs. Bamber recited this discourse like a lesson, and at 
its close laughed with a curiously shrill abruptness. 

' There was a friend of mine named Bamber,' said In- 
spector Byde tentatively, but with quite a friendly warmth ; 
' a very dear friend of mine who came from Chicago, and 
whom I have not seen for two or three years. His name 
was Eitzpatrick Justin Bamber. Would it be the same — 
though I do not think he then had temperance leanings? 
Perhaps it is not my old friend?' 

' Oh, no ! Mr. Bamber's initials are " E. J." — Egan Jewel 
Bamber. He resided in America for oome time, but never, 
I believe, at Chicago.' 

' A moment's thought might have convinced me,' pursued 
the inspector, more cordially than ever ; ' of course it could 
not be my old friend. A pleasant look out from this window, 
most pleasant !' 

' Yes, is it not a pleasant look out ?' 

' Charming in summer, I should fancy ?' 

' Very agreeable in summer.' 

' And that, I presume, would be the boulevard below — tha 
Boulevard Haussmann ?' 

' Yes, that is the boulevard ; a pleasant thoroughfare, and 
conveniently situated.' 

' My old friend Bamber retired to Borne, I think ; and 
that must have been at a date prior to the foundation of 
the I.O.T.A., with which, indeed, he could hardly have co- 
operated long. Political societies were the only organizations 
he understood or cared about.' 

' Oh, dear me ! There is a wide difference between any- 
thing of that sort and the I.O.T.A.' 

' Why, naturally— naturally !' The inspector joined a few 
genial bass-notes to the shrill volley emitted by Brother 
Bamber's better half. He transferred his gaze from her 
false teeth to her glassy eyes, and added, ' My friend Fitz- 
patrick Justin was one of America's most glorious sons, 
although he shrank from fame. He led the new school of 
revolutionary heroes, and had done a great deal of good work 
with dynamite.' 

Mr. Byde reiterated fragments of these two sentences as 
though gratified with their sound. The undisguised expres- 
sion to be seen upon the countenance opposite his own was 
one of alarm at the revolutionary sympathies he appeared 


to express. Whatever might have been his views with re- 
ference to Brother Bamber, it was clear thaC this worthy 
dame must be absolved from any complicity in secret propa- 
ganda such as he seemed to suspect. Poor woman ! in the 
lines of her face he did not read happiness. What he read 
between the lines was meekness and a narrow intelligence ; 
the capacity of thinking in a limited rotation of ideas, and of 
learning accurately by rote. 

Inspector Byde was well aware of the advantages accru- 
ing to conspiracies by the employment of women in the 
more dangerous portions of their work. If the errand of the 
female emissary succeeded, the conspirators exulted over 
their own superior cunning, or, with more modesty, reviled 
the stupidity of their foes ; whereas if the superior cunning 
of their foes detected the little mission of their female 
emissary, and obstructed its course ungallantly, there re- 
mained always the recourse to indignant championship of 
weak women ; the other side were cowardly and brutal, sub- 
jecting delicately-nurtured ladies — mothers devoted to their 
sons, or, as the case might be, innocent young girls who had 
nursed their brothers on the bed of sickness — to outrageous 
insult. But the physiognomy now before him, said Mr. 
Byde inwardly, altogether vindicated the amiable Mrs. 
Bamber. Vindicated her ? Of what ? Here he stood once 
more yielding to this terrible bias ! Why should there exist 
any co-relation between the Fitzpatrick he had invented, 
and the Egan who sat in the next room conferring upon the 
business of the International ? The conference appeared to 
be over. He heard the two colleagues moving towards the 
door. If for the sake of his peace of mind alone, he fervently 
hoped at that minute, as he regarded his hostess with con- 
trition, that the physiognomy of Brother Bamber might 
prove the fitting counterpart of hers. 

The hostess advanced to meet her husband, and con- 
veyed some intimation to him before he crossed the 

' Welcome, dear friend,' said Brother Bamber, as he 
approached from the doorway with outstretched hands. 

He was a man of slender build and fair complexion. 
What hair he had was of so light a colour that he might 
have been supposed entirely bald. His eyelashes were of 
the same hue as his hair; and not much deeper in their 


shade were his eyehrows and long silky beard. He wore 
gold-rimmed spectacles ; and, as he now smiled, fixedly, 
the gold stoppings of his front teeth gleamed at Inspector 

' An esteemed colleague from London,' added Brother 
Bamber, introducing Brother Neel. The latter came for- 
ward with a pompous demeanour and deliberate gait. It 
was plain that he had no recollection of the passenger from 
Scotland Yard. Mr. Byde again explained the deep interest 
which, as a consistent upholder of the good work during 
twenty-three years, he felt in its latest development, this 
courageous enterprise ; and then a chorus of expletive 
platitudes ensued. ' We were intending to step down to 
the new mission-rooms of the league in the Rue Feydeau,' 
concluded Brother Bamber. 

Mr. Byde observed that he should be delighted to accom- 
pany them. 

' Victorine !' called Brother Bamber. 

The vivacious brunette tripped into the ante-chamber in 
answer to the summons. Her master demanded his hat, 
overcoat, etc., and she furnished him with those articles 
with an air of effusive naivete which perhaps only the in- 
spector properly appreciated. A parcels delivery porter 
presented himself at the apartment just as they were ready 
to leave. Victorine received the package, and handed the 
book to her master to sign with the most captivating jaunti- 
ness imaginable. Inspector Byde could hardly suppress 
that grim smile of his as he watched her. Brother Neel 
watched her also ; and the better half of Brother Bamber, 
as she stood aloof, likewise watched her. As for Brother 
Bamber himself, he did not once direct a glance at Victorine. 
He placed his signature in the book in a perfunctory manner, 
and gave a brief direction about the package. It looked like 
a stout wooden box, in shape like nothing so much as an 
ordinary household gas-meter. From the inscription on the 
red label of the European Express, the package seemed to 
have been consigned to Paris from Boston, U.S. 


On their way to the Eue Feydeau, Brother Bamber favoured 
' Mr. Smithson ' with a batch of most interesting statistics, 


proving that, soon or late, the crusade of the I.O.T.A. must 
inevitably prevail. The statistics were drawn from his own 
past reports, and from those of his colleagues. All they 
need do was to push the good work boldly forward : adher- 
ents would ally themselves spontaneously with the cause. 
His personal experience enabled, him to attest this as a 
certainty Why, even the retail wine-dealer, who supplied 
his household with mineral waters, had joined the I.O.T.A. ; 
and the hairdresser opposite his private residence had called 
upon him on Sunday morning just as he was going to chapel, 
and of his own free will had taken out a two years' sub- 
scription, payable in advance. 

Brother Is eel supplemented his colleague's figures by an 
array of convincing arguments extracted from the professional 
repertory As the inspector listened to both voices he de- 
cided that at any rate Brother Bamber was in complete 
ignorance of the tragic event of that morning. Brother 
Neel excited his admiration while he talked. He had good 
tones, and used them skilfully, The matter of his homily 
might be trite and shallow, but the organ was so musically 
persuasive ! And with what a beatific serenity he looked, 
and walked, and waited ! To bring the case home to a man 
like this, mused Inspector Byde, would atone thrice over for 
that great mistake. 

Brother Bamber smiled with irritating frequency in con- 
versation. Brother Xeel never smiled, or scarcely ever, but 
seemed continually upon the point of smiling — which per- 
haps excited in the spectator quite as keen an irritation. 
Of the two heads, that of Brother Xeel would manifestly 
the better adorn a public platform or the head of a procession. 
He wore his oiled hair long, and without a parting; combed 
carefully straight back, it iefc exposed to view the whole 
extent of a forehead which the most vulgar would have re- 
cognised as noble. His dark locks, neatly smoothed behind 
his ears, and at the nape of his neck terminating in a fringe, 
gave him. in some unaccountable way the air generic to the 
fifth-rate poet, the tenth-rate tragedian, the twelfth-rate 
family doctor, the foreign pianist, and the professor of leger- 
demain who lets himself out for evening parties. His clean- 
shaven visage looked blue, and the sturdiness of his frame 
might have fitted him for missionary work among 


' You must find your labours excessively fatiguing,' re- 
marked the inspector to Brother Neel — ' as travelling 
lecturer, I mean. When did you run over from Eng- 
land ?' 

' I arrived this morning only,' was the reply ; ' I came by 
the night-mail from London.' 

' The journey not too wearisome?' 

' Oh, I am accustomed to it by this time, and I am an 
excellent traveller, I should tell you, dear friend. When we 
have once made the crossing, I can generally sleep through 
the remainder of the journey.' 

' Especially at night, I suppose — like me ?' hazarded the 
inspector, geniality itself. 

' Especially at night.' 

' Then by the night-mail you would be due in Paris 

b y — ' 

' We arrived at six this morning, or thereabouts.' 

The inspector followed these apparently aimless questions 
by some others of no greater seeming importance, but per- 
haps tending remotely towards the same end. When he 
had exercised his ingenuity to his heart's content, he was 
obliged to acknowledge that he remained just as wise as at 
the outset, and no wiser. One test, however, yet lay within 
his reach. It was with a growing eagerness that he awaited 
an opportunity for applying that test. 

Brother Bamber showed them all the premises in the Eue 
Feydeau : the meeting-hall, the committee-rooms, and the 
space allotted to recreation, education, and conversation. 
It was small, he acknowledged, as compared with the parent 
undertakings in England, but as the movement expanded, 
so they could increase the accommodation by the establish- 
ment of district-branches. Here stood the members' lend- 
ing library. They had standard authors in both languages ; 
works on politics and history; a few French novels, and 
fewer English scientific works ; and, thanks to the muni- 
ficence of private donors, a perfect storehouse of temperance 
literature. The French novels and the English scientific 
works were subjected to the most rigid scrutiny before being 
admitted to their shelves. Booms were specially set aside 
for chess, draughts, and cards, which were permitted on 
week-days, but not for money stakes. 

Brother Bamber wound up an harangue on the glorious 


future of the I.O.T.A. by correcting a well-known apothegm. 
Instead of cheaply pronouncing that 'Le cUricalismc, voild 
I'ennemi,' Gambetta should have thundered into the ears of 
his compatriots that the enemy to be combated was ' alco- 
holism,' or simply alcohol. 'L'alccol, voild I'ennemi!' — how 
would that do for their motto here ? ' Very well indeed,' said 
Mr. Byde. 

A French gentleman, in a threadbare tall hat and frayed 
linen, advanced mincingly towards the three visitors, and, 
with the obeisance which betrays the lively sense of favours 
to come, presented Brother Bamber with an account. 

' One of our French agents,' explained Brother Bamber; 
' a little bill for the outdoor propaganda. That gentleman 
waiting over there is one of his English colleagues charged 
with the management of our European correspondence.' 

Mr. Byde noticed that in the brief communication which 
the English colleague had to make to Brother Bamber, he 
preferred to employ, or employed unwittingly, the Irish 
dialect of the English language as spoken in America. 

Their tour of the premises completed, they descended 
into the street. As they moved in the direction of the 
Bourse, a hawker ran by them with his arms full of freshly- 
printed newspapers. He was shouting the contents of the 
journal, and appeared to be hurrying towards the main line 
of boulevards. Another hawker, folding his papers as he 
hastened along, followed at a little distance, and behind him 
they presently perceived one more, likewise calling out the 
sensational news. 

' The first of the evening papers,' remarked Brother 
Bamber. ' What is that he is calling ? Another murder ?' 

' Assassination of an Englishman — mysterious affair !' 
shouted the first hawker. 

'Strange discovery in this morning's mail -train from 
London,' called the next, out of breath — ' robbery not the 
object of the crime !' 

' The murder of an Englishman this morning,' repeated a 
third — ' the police on the track of the assassin !' 

Brother Neel purchased a copy of the newspaper. 

'Bobbery not the motive of the crime!' commented 
Brother Bamber. ' What then ?' 

His colleague spread the paper open, and they halted to 
peruse the latest intelligence. It was not difficult to dis- 


cover the item in question. Lines in large black characters 
announced — ' Assassinat d'un Anglais — Un drame intime !' 

' Bless me !' exclaimed Brother Neel, after a glance at 
the opening sentences. ' That must have been the train I 
travelled in myself.' 

' The very train you journeyed by from London !' echoed 
his colleague. ' Eeally, now !' 

' Eobbery not the motive of the crime ?' repeated the 
supposititious Mr. Smithson. ' What do they think, then ? 
A secret society at work?' 

Brother Bamber looked over his gold spectacles at the 

' Secret societies among Englishmen ?' said he, smiling 

' No,' returned Mr. Smithson — ' not among them: against 

' In France ?' 

' Perhaps. In France — but not French.' 

' Surely you don't mean — you don't mean the old revolu- 
tionists, the American dynamiters?' 

' Oh, personally, I don't mean anybody, or anything ! 
Let us see what the paper says.' 

' But the old revolutionists who worked from Paris,' 
persisted Brother Bamber, who, with his head erect, was 
regarding the other full through his glasses — 'every man 
of them has long been known to the police, and none of 
them could stir without detection, I understood.' 

' Indeed ? And so they are all known, and watched — 
the centres, the head-centres, and the rest of the veterans 

' That is the general impression in what I may call the 
official British colony, which is the source of my own infor- 
mation. And a very necessary precaution — a most reassur- 
ing state of affairs. In that way they are absolutely com- 
pelled to remain inactive.' 

' Of course they are. The veterans can do nothing while 
they are watched by the police ; which, from what I have 
heard, accounts for their inaction while their younger con- 
federates, who are not in the least known to the police, go 
on with the campaign.' 

There was not the faintest tinge of irony in the speaker's 


' Why, I had understood that the association was on 
the point of collapse — the association of American dyna- 
miters ?' 

' So had I,' responded Mr. Smithson, the picture of 
stupidity for the moment. 

Brother Neel handed the newspaper to his colleague of 
the I.O.T.A. The latter translated the paragraph, and read 
it aloud. After setting forth the circumstances of the dis- 
covery, the paragraph proceeded as follows : 

' We are enabled to state that the few papers which have 
been found in the possession of the deceased are not of a 
nature to establish his identity. The crime has manifestly 
not been committed for the sake of plunder. The pockets 
contained loose money amounting to a considerable sum, 
and the jewellery worn by the deceased has been left un- 
touched. Either of the ordinary hypotheses becomes, 
therefore, at once disposed of, the idea of suicide being 
entirely precluded. Must we seek for the clue to this crime 
in some story of private feud, in some family vendetta, some 
tale of heartless betrayal or malignant jealousy? From 
time to time, indeed, the hypocrisy of English social life is 
brought home to all those of us who have suffered ourselves 
to be imposed upon by Pharisaical airs of superior virtue. 
Scandals of incredible magnitude, dragged from time to time 
into the light of day, remind us opportunely that beneath 
the apparent fastidiousness of our starched neighbours we 
may discover a corruption of manners to which the most 
licentious period of ancient Eome affords the only fitting 
parallel. Happily, we French — nous autres Franqais — are 
not like our Britannic neighbours. We may possess our 
faults— who can say that he is impeccable? — -but our 
candour redeems them. The characteristic of France is 
generosity of thought, word, and action ; that of England, 
an egotistical hypocrisy. The French are valiant, impul- 
sive, and trusting ; the English are calculating, cold, and 
braggart. Ah, pudique Albion — down with the mask ! Our 
good police of Paris is already unmuzzled, and we may con- 
fidently expect a prompt unravelling of this latest mystery 
One thing we may promise to British society, with its pyra- 
mid of cannt— this term has been invented by the English 
themselves, to express their own hypocrisy — we can safely 
promise that whatever may be the tale of scandalous vice 


connected with the tragedy of this morning's mail, the Paris 
press will be no party to its concealment. For our part wo 
shall give the most ample details. Our own relations with 
the Prefecture of Police have been too often turned to the 
advantage of our readers for any doubt whatever to exist as 
to our ability to place before the public any matters which 
may come to the knowledge of the authorities. We shall 
keep our readers closely informed of every development in 
this mysterious affair. The sources of information at our 
own disposal, independently of the Prefecture, are both 
varied and trustworthy. We will not say that we are not, 
even at this early juncture, in the possession of facts that 
might in a material degree influence the conduct of the in- 
quiry. But to the police, who profess to have discovered 
something in the nature of an indication, we will do no 
more than offer the proverbial, but eternally true, counsel, 
" Cherchez lafemme !" The body has been transported to 
the Morgue for identification.' 

' My train seems to have been selected by criminals,' 
observed Brother Neel. ' We had an arrest at Dover — a 
sensational diamond robbery case, we were told.' 

' If you could recognise the deceased as a fellow-traveller,' 
said Mr. Smithson, ' it might be possible for you to help the 
authorities here in the matter of identification.' 

' I do not think there could have been anybody in the 
train who was personally known to me,' replied the other. 

' We might make a visit to the Morgue, if it is not too 
far from here,' continued Mr. Smithson ; ' we might just 
look in and see the body.' 

' A somewhat ghastly spectacle,' objected Brother 

' People connected with the police are so peculiar,' went 
on Mr. Smithson, ' that if it were ascertained that our dear 
friend here had travelled by this very train, and in such a 
case as this had shown no curiosity as to the person mur- 
dered — a person whom he might possibly have noticed in 
conversation with suspicious individuals — they might subject 
our dear friend to all kinds of inconvenience.' 

' That is true,' said Brother Neel — ' and, for the sake of 
the I.O.T.A., anything of that kind must be carefully 
avoided. If the deceased should be some one whom I 
happened to notice in the society of other persons there wilj 


be no harm in my volunteering the statement to the autho- 
rities. My evidence might prove useful in the future — who 
knows? — in corroboration of other testimony. And if the 
deceased should be some passenger whom I am certain I 
have never seen, why then there would be no reason for my 
coming forward. I should say nothing whatever about my 
presence in the mail-train, and there, so far as I am con- 
cerned, the matter would terminate.' 

' As you like,' acquiesced his colleague. 

They bent their steps in the direction of Notre Dame. 
Traversing one of the bridges, they arrived on the island 
which at this point divides the Seine. In a few minutes 
they were at the towers of Notre Dame. 

Passing to the rear of the cathedral, and skirting the little 
gardens which there lie, the inspector and his companions 
saw that groups of idlers had already congregated in front 
of the Morgue. Persons were also approaching from the 
bridges on both sides, and others were ascending the two or 
three steps at the entrance to the building. Visitors who 
had satisfied their curiosity lounged through the doorway, 
and down the steps, and augmented the knots of debaters 
scattered along the pavement. Some of the women and 
children were cracking nuts and eating sweetmeats, pur- 
chased from itinerant vendors who had stationed their 
barrows at the side of the road. One hawker was endea- 
vouring to sell bootlaces ; another was enumerating the 
titles of the comic songs which he exhibited in cheap leaf- 
lets, strung together on a wooden frame. 

' And so this is the Morgue !' exclaimed Mr. Smithson, 
gaping at the long, plain structure opposite the gardens. 

Anyone would have affirmed most positively that Mr. 
Smithson had never visited the spot before. As they 
mounted the stone steps, Brother Neel stopped short, and 
Mr. Smithson, who had followed close upon his heels, 
stumbled against him. He turned back for an instant, but 
only to make a small purchase at one of the barrows. 

The air, the aspect, the associations of the sinister place 
might have affected momentarily the stoutest heart. It 
was not that the atmosphere could have been condemned 
by any sanitary inspector ; nor that the naked walls, with 
curt official notices to the public painted in plain capitals 
here and there, recalled the infected charnel house, or fright- 


ful images f corruption -which at some time or another we 
have most of us received into our minds, and which we 
carry about with us buried to the utmost depth, out of view 
and apparently forgotten, but capable of brusquely rising 
from their dark recess under a single lurid ray. It was not 
that the living who were issuing from these portals had 
drawn into their lungs unconsciously the icy, stagnant air 
poisoned by the dead. The Morgue was a peep-show, not a 

The groups now issuing from its portals had been staring 
through beautiful panes of plate-glass. A handrail hindered 
them from approaching near enough to dim the crystal with 
their breath, to flatten their noses at its surface, or to 
shatter the entire frame in their ingenuous eagerness to 
feast their eyes upon the corpses. To hinder the ladies 
and gentlemen who nocked hither on a 'good' day from 
scratching their names, or Scriptural texts, or possibly a 
humorous — even a ribald — couplet upon the windows of the 
Morgue, a safeguard more effectual was at hand. Officers 
of the establishment kept a keen watch on the company, an 
excellent precaution for more reasons than one. And where 
stood these officers ? Oh, who could say ? That was the 
dress — the semi-livery worn by the old campaigner -yonder 
who was certainly just now chewing tobacco. There were 
others who wore no livery of any kind, and who on ' good ' 
days w 7 ould get into conversation with likely strangers. 
"Were these really dead persons ? they would perhaps ask 
— these figures extended upon sloping couches, and to all 
appearance gazing intelligently at the spectator — were they 
actually dead human beings, or imitations of the same, in 
wax ? The murderer who has swaggered into the presence 
of his victim, out of bravado, or whom the fascination of his 
crime attracts and rivets to this spot, must, like his accom- 
plice who has mingled with the crowd for purposes of infor- 
mation, beware of such lynx-eyed, casual neighbours, with 
their simple questions and their homely garb. 

No ; if the air on this side of the enormous glass panes 
could be condemned by any sanitary inspector, its noxious 
germs must have been given forth by the living who thus 
thronged the temporary habitation of the dead. Men, 
women, and children pushed forward indiscriminately to 
the great peep-show. You could see the bodies here for 


nothing, whilst at the waxworks in the fairs there were 
always a few sous to pay at the doors, to say nothing of the 
extras for the models of anatomical curiosities, and the 
catalogue ; there might be a good many more varieties of 
death exhibited in the waxworks at the fairs, but the figures 
were not, as a rule, well finished off like these, and that one 
over there had just been brought in — murdered only that 
morning, and the assassin bad escaped. He was a foreigner, 
the paper said — a German. Non, madame, pardon — an 
Englishman ! Well, was it not the same thing — English — 
German — was not all that just the same ? Not at all, 
madame, if you will permit me — two quite different peoples. 
I don't say that the Americans and the Germans might not 
be near together, but the Germans and the English belong 
to different countries, although the English can speak 
American. Well — English, American, German — all that 
was the same thing so far as the French were concerned. 
Why could they not stay in their own countries ? They all 
hated Erance. Ah non, madame, je vous demande pardon — 

in matters of that sort ' In matters of that sort !' Was 

it not well known that every one of these foreign countries 
hated Erance because Erance had conquered them all in the 
past, and they were afraid that she would get strong enough 
to conquer them all again ? And for that reason they sent 
spies into France. There were some people about who pro- 
fessed to know everything, and always wanted to correct 
the rest of the world. She was only a poor widow who 
supported herself, an invalid sister, and two children, by hard 
work ; but she had not seen the coup d'etat, the fall of the 
empire, the siege, and the Commune without becoming 
qualified to say something about politics — tiens I That might 
be very true, madame, but all the same the body over there 
which they would perceive presently, when their turns 
came, was that of an Englishman. ' I want to see the 
body of the Englishman who was murdered ! Take me up, 
papa ! I want to see,' etc. ' Yes, yes, yes, papa will show 
to his little Louis the body of the,' etc. ' No, I want to see 
it now ! I will see it now ! That gentleman is treading 
on me, they are crushing my new hat ! No, I don't want 
any more cakes : I want to see the body of the Englishman 
who was murdered ! Take me up and show me,' etc., 


Housekeepers returning from market, with their baskets 
of provisions on their arms ; nursemaids dragging their 
little charges along by the hand after them ; work-girls 
chattering to be overheard, and giggling with the- superan- 
nuated coureurs who had remarked them in the next street 
but one, or who had been struck by their piquant carriage 
as they flirted through the garden opposite — ' Est-elle gen- 
tille !' ' He — la blondinette /' — a sprinkling of blue blouses ; 
bank messengers ; a priest or two ; barristers from the law 
courts hard by ; an occasional apparition in fur, lace, and 
velvet, of which the masculine sense retained a vague im- 
pression of the thick veil, a hat, and a muff, together with 
the faintest odour of white rose : to this restless and changing 
throng came Brothers Neel and Bamber, accompanied by 
' Mr. Smithson.' Brother Neel had stopped a second time ; 
but merely to glance over the frames of photographs nailed 
against the wall. Of that ghastly collection the originals 
had tenanted the Morgue, nameless ; and nameless they 
had been lifted from their couches, on the other side of the 
plate-glass windows, when 

It was surely most improbable that Brother Neel could 
have known the originals of any portraits exhibited within 
these precincts. They were all neatly numbered, and they 
thus awaited, with the last look which death imprinted upon 
their faces, either the chance recognition of some passer-by, 
or their ultimate consignment to complete oblivion. Poor, 
disfigured features, durable enough on the photographer's 
film of paper, but too transitory in the mould which nature 
gave them : who could say what tragic story they had not 
provoked or witnessed — who could divine the occasion of 
that cast of terror, the humour of this lingering smile, the 
anger of that lowering brow, the secret of those disconcert- 
ing, sightless orbs ? Several of the heads bore wounds that 
had been strapped up after death — merciless gashes, some 
of them ; others, swollen and bloated, wore the sullen, 
almost animal, look to be observed among the drowned 
whose bodies have lain long immersed ; a few revealed the 
sharp contractions of despair and anguish marking the 
victim who, in the French phrase, 'sees himself die,' and 
rebels against his fate. 




The public are invited to make a declaration of the name 
of any individual whom they may recognise, to the Begis- 
trar's office, at the Morgue. 

This declaration involves no expense either to strangers 
or to friends and relatives of the deceased. Elle est toute 

Inspector Byde loitered behind with Brother Neel. 
While they both paused, a gentleman in later middle life 
mounted the steps from the street and moved unconcernedly 
into the building. The new-comer was attired almost as 
scrupulously as an old beau, but there was something about 
his physiognomy which might have been considered less 
typical of the old beau than of his coachman. He had 
a pear-shaped red face, with a short white whisker at 
each side. He gave you the impression at first sight of 
being uncomfortably hot ; but you were soon led to the con- 
clusion that the glow which overspread his countenance 
would be more properly attributable to the generous vintage 
produced by the sun, soil, and science of Oporto. Quite a 
small nosegay of winter flowers adorned the button-hole of 
his stylish overcoat ; and his new kid gloves were bright 
enough to be reflected in his polished hat. No one would 
have imagined that his night's rest had been interrupted ; 
although we know that at six o'clock, a.m., he attended at 
the Gare du Nord to meet the mail from London. It was 

Brother Neel saw no faces he could recognise, that was 
clear. It was Inspector Byde who recognised one of the 
faces that he saw. 

The recognition, indeed, was mutual. Grandpa nodded 
to Inspector Byde with an air of pleased surprise, and the 
inspector nodded back. Their salutations took place un- 
perceived by the two colleagues in the service of the I.O.T.A. 
Brothers Neel and Bamber had penetrated into the crowd, 
and Mr. ' Smithson ' immediately rejoined them. There 
was another person whom grandpa recognised, but to whom 
nevertheless he sent no salute, a figure posted near a recess, 


away from the mass of spectators, and devoting a good deal 
more attention to the latter themselves than to the object of 
their curiosity. It was the manly form of Mr. Toppin, who, 
stationed like a sentinel, resolved to ' bid any man stand in 
the prince's name,' no doubt fancied he was acquitting him- 
self of his duty with no less discretion than zeal. Mr. 
' Smithson ' possibly dreaded at that moment an untimely 
greeting from his vigilant subordinate. 

Edging their way through the rows of gossiping spectators, 
the three companions at length caught a glimpse of the 
' Englishman who was murdered.' A minute more and 
they were face to face with the corpse. The detective had 
watched his neighbour, Brother Neel, most narrowly, and 
by placing himself a little in his rear, contrived to maintain 
his scrutiny unobserved. Brother Neel betrayed the sensi- 
bility, transient but perfectly undissembled, which under 
the circumstances would be altogether natural. The com- 
municative Mr. Eemington lay before him. At not much 
more than arm's length he saw, supported by the sloping 
couch, on the other side of the plate-glass window, his 
fellow-passenger of the previous night — the obliging narrator 
of the Wilmot case, the sceptic in young Mr. Sinclair's inno- 
cence — dead. The life-like appearance of the body might 
well have startled him, as it startled persons who had never 
until now set eyes on the deceased. Beyond, apparently, 
the shock of noting the few signs which had been described 
concisely by the inspector in his report that morning to 
Scotland Yard, Brother Neel evinced no species of emotion. 
A consumptive lady, borne down by ponderous gold earrings, 
remarked to her daughter on the dim expression of astonish- 
ment and alarm which the features still retained ; would 
not anybody say that the deceased, as he reposed upon his 
couch, was about to open his lips and call for help '? The 
daughter — a dark-eyed maid, with a woman's torso but an 
infant's face — read inquiry, also, she commented, in the blue 
and bloodshot eyes of the deceased. Sometimes the dead 
bodies at the Morgue, continued mademoiselle, had a look 
of meditation, or an air of listening ; this one seemed as 
though he were searching for some one in the crowd, or as 
if he meant to question them, if they would wait. 

' Do you think that the assassin could come here, and 
stand in front of this, unmoved?' asked the young lady, who 


appeared to interest herself in criminal exploits and physical 

' I can't imagine how he could,' replied her mother. 'I 

' I dare say he might, though, all the same,' continued the 
daughter. ' It seems to me that if I had courage enough to 
commit a murder, I should not in the least mind seeing the 
body afterwards. You know they are dead : what does it 

' Ah, but the guilty quail before their lifeless victims ; that 
is well known,' responded the elder lady, glancing round for 

' Not necessarily, madame,' put in a neighbour, who forth- 
with enforced his view of the matter by citations from the 
popular records of criminal jurisprudence. 

' A profitable discussion, truly !' sneered Brother Bamber 
to his colleague. 

' Well, my dear friend, I agree rather with the elder lady,' 
said Brother Neel. ' I believe in the resonant and mighty 
voice of truth. Were the assassin, now, of this unfortunate 
man at present here, gazing or about to gaze upon the victim 
of his impious deed, I think his conscience must betray him.' 
He, too, cast a glance around him as he concluded. It 
seemed as though he half-expected to encounter some such 
mute avowal of guilt. The regard which met his own was 
that of Inspector Byde. 

' Do you identify the dead man?' asked Mr. Srnithson. 

' No,' replied Brother Neel. 

' You have no recollection of his face at all ? I should 
fancy it would help on the authorities materially if someone 
could identify this person. You do not remember observing 
him among your fellow-passengers ?' 

' I have no recollection of ever having seen that man.' 

' Then we need not remain here any longer,' suggested 
Brother Bamber, less at ease in the crowd than in the 
offices of the I.O.T.A. They turned to depart. The 
inspector told his two companions that he would join them 
presently outside the Morgue. He wished, no doubt, to 
exchange a word with the praiseworthy Mr. Toppin ; and 
grandpa was hovering persistently in his neighbourhood, 
remarked Mr. Byde. 

But he had a different reason for remaining in his place a 


moment more. Two female figures, advancing through the 
crowd with difficulty, and manifestly shrinking from the 
contact of this mixed assemblage, had caught his attention 
as they made their way towards the window. It was easy 
to distinguish them as English ladies. They were both 
veiled. The toilette of the elder, rich but in good taste, had 
a decidedly Parisian stamp. The appearance of the younger 
lady, who was attired in a semi-travelling costume, was 
more characteristically English. Mr. Byde noted that the 
younger of the two leaned upon her companion for support. 
As they approached the window, he stationed himself behind 

' I dare not look,— I dare not — oh, I dare not!' murmured 
the younger lady, in agitated accents. ' If it should be — • — ' 

' My dear child, — come — come 1 There, — I told you these 
fears were groundless.' 

' Heavens ! — what can it mean ?' The young lady raised 
her veil, and, as the colour came back to her cheeks, gazed 
with astonishment at the lineaments of the dead man. 

' Why, — do you recognise him ?' 

' Yes, — oh yes ! What can have happened ? — oh, — let us 
go from this horrible place !' 

Mr. Inspector Byde signalled to his colleague, Toppin. 


In the course of the evening Mr. Toppin presented himself 
at his colleague's hotel. He had been not a little astonished 
at the arrival of the inspector at the Morgue in company 
with two clerically-attired gentlemen, with whom he 
appeared to be on easy terms. To observe the inspector 
salute a third acquaintance, in the shape of an elderly party 
who looked like a real old swell, rather ' horsey ' in his 
style, perhaps — a Jockey Club Crcesus, no doubt : English 
race-horse owner established in France : too solidly British, 
or not quite over-dressy enough, to be a vecomte, or a 
marky, or a dook — had added to his astonishment. Anybody 
would have imagined that this Byde was lounging about his 
own metropolis, which lay upon the other side of the English 
Channel ! 

Detective Toppin was directed upstairs to a private sitting- 


room retained by the inspector. He found the latter seated 
in an armchair at the mahogany table, and busily engaged 
with inkstand, blotting-pad, pen, and writing-paper. 

' Don't wind up your report until you have heard what I 
have done,' said Toppin, in good spirits. 

' All right,' replied the other; ' I was waiting for you.' 

Toppin approached the table, and perceived that what 
engrossed the attention of his esteemed superior was some- 
thing apparently quite different from a report to 'the Yard.' 
Mr. Byde had covered pages of his note-paper with pro- 
positions 9, 10 and 11. He had bisected a given rectilineal 
angle ; he had bisected a given finite straight line ; and he 
had drawn a straight line at right angles to a given straight 
line from a given point in the same. He was just killing 
time, don't you see — he explained to his subordinate. 

' We shall have them to-morrow or the next day,' 
announced Mr. Toppin, ' as safe as houses !' 

' We shall have them to-morrow or the next day, shall 
we?' answered the inspector cheerily. 'That's all right, 
then.' He put down his pen, and, as he closed the small 
volume at his left hand, murmured, ' Wherefore two straight 
lines cannot have a common segment.' 

' To begin with, here is a fac-simile of the morsel of paper 
found on the floor of the compartment.' 

The inspector took the slip of paper proffered him, and 
read upon it, ' Adelaide, X. Y.,' with an address, ' to be left 
till called for,' at a post-office in Knightsbridge. ' Did you 
wire to the Yard?' he asked. 

' I wired at once to have the post-office watched. Parties 
applying for anything addressed to " Adelaide, X. Y.," were 
to be followed." 

« Yes ?' 

' And — in case they should overlook it — that a hint to the 
postmaster might be advisable. For all w T e know, a letter 
might never be claimed, and yet might disappear. For all 
we know, a post-office clerk may be in this." 

' Good.' 

' I'd lay ten to one it's a confederate in the original 
robbery — a man !' 

' I should not be surprised if it's a woman,' remarked the 

' Well, whatever they may think proper to do at the Yard, 


I know what I should do. I'd have application made, by a 
plain-clothes man, for anything to that address ; and I'd 
have it opened, whatever it was !' 

' Opened ?' 

' That is what would be done here, as a matter of course.' 

' I have a good mind to return to-morrow,' observed the 
inspector jocosely. ' What could be clearer than the case, 
as it now stands, at this end ? The two suspic ous 
characters who travelled by the same train as the deceased, 
who hastened away immediately the train arrived at its 
destination, and who obviously applied themselves to elude 
pursuit, are safe to be pounced on by the French police to- 
morrow or the next day, wherever they may be hiding. It's 
not much use for me to stay here. You can act with the 
French authorities and get credit for the capture, at the 
Yard — which you deserve, friend Toppin.' 

' Oh, but ' exclaimed Toppin eagerly, ' this is your 

case !' 

' If you can finish it off, it shall be yours.' 

' ]\Ir. Byde, sir, it's a real privilege to work with a 
colleague like yourself. If others at the Yard that I could 
name would only show the same consideration for the 
younger men, and those who've never had their chance, 
things would go on much better, sir, all round. We should 
all work together, sir, more harmoniously, and the public 
interests would greatly benefit, and the Yard would find that 
it possessed the confidence of the entire community in a 
fuller degree. Young and talented members of the force 
would see that their abilities were to be allowed free play, 
instead of feeling that their best efforts only profited their 
superiors. I am a young member of the force myself, sir, 
and I think I may say, without any boasting, that with the 
opportunity J could prove that I am not one of the least 
able. I feel confident of my capacity to conduct the present 
case to a speedy and satisfactory termination, and should I 
be so fortunate as to receive your commendation, I know 
that it would carry great weight with the Department. Mr. 
Byde, sir, I am deeply sensible of your kindness.' 

' All right, Toppin, all right. But is it so sure that we 
shall have these men to-morrow or the next day ?' 

' How can they get clear, with myself and the French 
police after them 2 Wherever they go in this country they 


are conspicuous as foreigners. If they leave Paris for the 
provinces they can be traced with comparative facility, and 
can be stopped by telegraph. Their only chance is to keep 
inside Paris. Now what means of concealment are 
available to them inside Paris ? They are hidden in the 
residence of an accomplice, we will say. Then every 
morning and every evening the newspapers render it more 
and more hazardous for the accomplice himself to keep any 
parties of the nationality specified in the public press hidden 
away upon his premises, or in any manner apparently 
avoiding observation. As a party to the crime, he will very 
•soon have had enough of it, and will either hand them over, 
to get out of it, or leave them to themselves. The 
concierge, the servants, or the neighbours — there is always 
someone here to start the gossip — notice that the new 
arrivals do not leave the house, or leave it, we'll say, only 
in the evening. They wonder why, and even if no crime 
has been publicly announced, they are more likely than not 
to regard these new arrivals with suspicion. If, on the 
other hand, these parties should decide to go in and out of 
the house quite freely, in order to save appearances, they 
are continually running the risk of identification by some 
person or persons who travelled with them between London 
and Paris. Suppose they disguise themselves : they are 
still foreigners, not natives of the country ; and they might 
be followed — files — on " spec," at any minute. Anybody may 
be in the pay of the police here — the cabman, the vendor of 
a newspaper, the postman, the concierge — who knows ? They 
are not all stupid ; and they are all officious and inquisitive. 
Suppose, however, that they put up, like ordinary visitors, 
at an hotel — a small private establishment, or one of the 
largest and most fashionable. Suppose that no suspicions 
arise in the hotel itself with regard to the coincidence of 
their arrival and the date of the crime. Every hotel, 
lodging-house, and boarding-house, having to furnish a 
police return of the persons arriving at their premises for 
even a single night, the returns do usually afford the police 
some sort of indication. The kind of handwriting, whether 
disguised or not — the kind of names chosen by parties who 
enter themselves falsely — the people at the Caserne de la 
Cite (our Scotland Yard, you may say) can of course turn all 
these things to account, especially in a case like this, with 


me to help them. But, there ! — I am telling you what you 
know already. And you are not the man, Mr. Inspector, 
whom your own false entry on your own hotel-sheet would 
have misled, if you had been looking for yourself !' 

' Well done,' said Mr. Toppin's colleague, with a smile. 
' When do the returns for the day get into the hands of 
the police ?' 

' The next morning, as a rule. I have been to the Caserne 
de la Cite, and by to-morrow, all the hotel returns ought to 
have been examined and the questionable cases noted. The 
premises queried can be visited at the first convenient 
moment. Now, as strangers here, these two men are most 
likely together in some out-of-the-way hotel, under assumed 
names, and with false addresses. I should expect them to 
have described themselves as Americans. They tell me at 
the Caserne de la Cite that the bullet which caused the 
death has not yet come into their possession ; but if a 
revolver or a pistol should be discovered at the premises 
tenanted by the two men it will of course be something, even 
though the bullet should never be found.' 

' And now — with regard to the two ladies I indicated to 
you, at the Morgue ? 

' With regard to the two ladies,' continued Mr. Toppin, 
' this is what I have ascertained. The elder is a Mrs. 
Bertram, who resides in the Avenue Marceau ; the other is 
a Miss Knollys. On quitting the Morgue they walked along 
the Quai de l'Archeveche, until they came to a cab which 
seemed to be in waiting for them. They stepped into the 
vehicle and gave a direction to the driver. I took another 
cab and followed them. The driver pulled up at a telegraph- 
office, and both ladies alighted. I went into the office a 
moment after them, and saw that they were filling up a 
telegraph form. The younger lady was writing the message, 
but was consulting the other about every word of it, I 
should say. I went to the same desk for a telegraph-form 
and a pen, and was able to glance at their message. I had 
no time to read the contents nor to secure the precise 
address, but the place to which it was to be despatched was 
London, and the name of the person to whom it was being 
sent was — Sinclair.' 

' Sinclair !' 

' Yes.' The inspector gathered up his diagrams and put 


them on one side, under the small volume of the 'Elements.' 
His colleague added, after a pause — ' Yes, I was astonished 
myself !' 

' Someone who expected him by the night-mail, has not 
heard of his arrest, has been alarmed by the story of an 
Englishman found murdered, on the arrival of the train 
here, and has attended at the Morgue, in the fear that the 
dead man might be Sinclair,' summed up Inspector Byde. 
' Someone who knew the deceased also, but did not expect 
him. What have you learned about this Miss Knollys ?' 

' She is a visitor, staying with Mrs. Bertram. She arrived 
quite recently from England. Mrs. Bertram is a widow, the 
concierge, told me. She lives in good style, and from what I 
can make out, possesses a considerable fortune. While they 
remained in the telegraph-office, Miss Knollys appeared 
extremely agitated ; the other seemed to be consoling her, 
but did not show any emotion herself. From the office, they 
drove to the Avenue Marceau, and it was then that I gleaned 
the particulars I have related to you.' 

' Would it be possible, through the concierge, to see all 
the post-marks of the correspondence this young lady 
receives ?' 

' Possible !' Toppin drew his hands out of his pockets, 
and spun a twenty-franc gold piece upon the table. ' We 
can even procure a little delay in the delivery — and some- 
thing more, still. It depends upon how many of these we 
can set spinning at the same time !' 

' Well, then, see to that. Before my arrival at the 
Morgue, did you notice anyone else of English nationality ?' 

' A cartful of tourists came, led by a guide. There was 
nothing about the behaviour of any of them that attracted 
my attention. You arrived soon afterwards, with the two 
clerical-looking gentlemen.' Toppin evidently wished for a 
hint on the subject of Inspector Byde's companions. The 
inspector did not gratify his wish, however. A minute later, 
a knock was heard at the door. In answer to the inspector's 
demand, the handle was turned, and the door was discreetly 

' An inopportune moment, perhaps ?' inquired a voice 

Toppin twisted his chair round, and faced the visitor, as 
the latter politely comprehended him in his salute. It was 


the elderly party who had nodded to his colleague at the 
Morgue — the real old swell, ' a little horsey in the cut of his 
iigure-head,' thought Toppin. 

' Not at all, not at all !' responded their host, rising. ' We 
are old acquaintances,' he explained to his subordinate. 
' Haven't met for years. Came across each other by chance 
this afternoon, and just had time to ask my old friend to 
step up and see me.' 

Toppin listened with a deferential bearing. 

' But if I disturb you ' pursued the new-comer. 

'By no means!' exclaimed the, inspector; 'on the 
contrary — we were just talking over my return to London. 
If you had deferred your visit, we might have lost the 
opportunity of discussing those private matters in which we 
are both interested. Besides, I suggested this evening, if you 
remember. And so the family are in good health? — Yes, 
yes — quite so — the family are in good health ' 

Topp.n understood that he was not wanted. All the 
better if his chief had other occupations while he stayed. 
It would leave his own hands for a larger share of the work 
on which they were engaged together. He made an appoint- 
ment for the following day, and took his leave. 

' Well, Byers,' said the inspector, as soon as he found 
himself alone with the elderly party whom Toppin had 
connected with wealth and fashion. ' You and I know each 
other, of course, but I did not suppose that you and my 
friend might be acquainted?' 

' Never had the pleasure of meeting the gentleman,' 
replied Mr. Byers, seated in the chair which Toppin had 
ju^t vacated. He held his polished hat in his left hand, and 
with the other was gently balancing a slender silk umbrella 
that seemed hardly heavier than a lady's fan. 

' A young friend of mine, and a fellow after your own 
heart ; but there's no reason why we should tell him our 
little secrets.' 

' That's like you, Mr. Byde — always considerate for others ; 
always considerate, when it doesn't interfere with your duty. 
Xot that I have any secrets to tell, but I can always listen 
to the secrets of other people, without going to sleep — and 
keep them.' 

' Or sell them, hey, Benny? — Ha ! ha ! ha 1' 

' Ah, no ! — Those days are gone.' 


' Now — what shall I order ?' The inspector prepared to 

' Oh, nothing for me ! — nothing whatever, I pray.' 

' Renounced it ?' 

' Not altogether ; but I'm thinking of doing so. The evils 
resulting from the consumption of intoxicating beverages are 
patent to the merest observer. Alcohol is the scourge of 
modern society, and it behoves us all to set the right 
example. There is an excellent society here which I shall 
doubtless join one of these days for the sake of its laudable 
purposes — an English movement — the International Organ- 
ization of Total Abstainers. You must be aware of its 
existence, by the way. If I mistake not, one of your com- 
panions this afternoon was the active and single-hearted 
president of the Paris branch, Brother Bamber ?' 

' Ah ! you know friend Bamber 7 

' In the very slightest way.' 

' Charming fellow, is he not ?' 

' A worthy, dear, good man. And so your young friend 
who was here just now has run over with you for a day or 

' Oh dear no !' said Mr. Byde. ' He's established here 
in business.' 

' Like myself, then !' 

' More or less, I dare say. What may be your line of 
business, Benjamin !' 

' Insurance — yes, old friend, the insurance business ; and 
pleased you will be to hear, I think, that I am prospering 
exceedingly. I have my office in the Rue des Petits Champs 
— quite a business quarter — and none but the most respect- 
able firms are among my clients.' 

' Some of my colleagues would be interested to hear that, 
Benjamin — though they won't hear it from me. We thought 
you went out to Australia ; and I dare say that by this time 
some of them at the Yard think you are dead. Person- 
ally, I fancied that New York was more like it ; and I never 
expected to tumble across my old chum Byers — Ben Byers 
— in the Morgue at Paris.' 

' You all used to love me at the Yard, didn't you ?' 

' We admired your talents, Benjamin. You have given 
us more trouble at the Yard, I should say, than any other 
single individual of your time. And all for nothing ! It's 


past and gone now, and we can talk it over without feeling. 
Yv^e never got well hold of you, but I can tell you that we 
meant having you some day or other.' 

' I knew you meant having me,' said Mr. Byers compla- 
cently. ' But there was only one man of the whole lot 
clever enough to put ma away, and that was Byde.' 

' Come, that won't do to-day, Byers,' protested the other 
with a laugh. ' What a character he is, my old chum, 
Benjamin ! There's not the smallest need for it, but habit's 
too strong for him ! Can't help soft-soaping you, although 
there's nothing to be got by it. Pearson was a better man 
than I, and so was Baird. And there are still Fullerton 
and Pilch who know more than I do at the game.' 

' Fullerton ! The man who muffed that forgery case ! I 
read about it in the newspapers. And as for Pilch, I re- 
member him well enough at the Yard. There's nobody can 
teach Pilch his business in any department of it, that I will 
say ; but he's not in it with you, Byde — and for this reason. 
Pilch is an obstinate man. Now, in your line of business, 
obstinacy doesn't do. If Pilch takes up an idea, he wants 
to bring everything round to it ; and that affects his judgment. 
He wants to pick and choose his facts to suit himself if he 
once takes up an idea, whereas your mode of going to work 
is never shaped by any preconceived idea, obstinately adhered 
to. I know that, the way you persecuted me in days gone 
by ! No, no ; I don't say it to natter you — what motive 
could I have for nattering you? — but you are the man I 
fancy, Mr. Byde ; that is to say. the man I should not like 
if I were a criminal to have upon my track. You have no 

' Yes, I have,' returned Mr. Byde slowly; ' I have a pre- 
judice, and I know it. I have a prejudice which got me 
into trouble once, and will again some day, if I don't look 

' Ah, that temperance case,' responded the visitor after a 
pause. ' Well, as I said, I am not here to natter you ; and 
certainly you came down over that !' His tone enhanced 
the bluntness, real or assumed, of his words ; and he added, 
' You don't seem to bear the brethren any malice, though?' 

' How ? What do you mean ?' 

' Beware of Brother Bamber !' Mr. Byers said this jocu- 
larly. ' He is a great hand at conversions.' 


' If they convert you, Benjamin, they ought to show you 
on their platforms, like their converted members of Parlia- 
ment and chimney-sweeps.' 

' I made the acquaintance of your other companion this 
afternoon — the lecturer from London, Brother Neel. You 
had been gone some time when I called at the Boulevard 
Haussmann. It was about insurance business that I had 
placed myself in communication with Brother Bamber, and 
I resolved to look in this afternoon for a personal introduc- 
tion. He presented me to his esteemed colleague — a man 
of great eloquence, it seems, and zeal.' 

' You did not refer to me as connected with the Yard, I 
hope ?' demanded the inspector seriously. 

' Well, hardly,' said Mr. Byers, with a bland smile ; ' I 
supposed you were on business, and I refrained from men- 
tioning you at all, though I should scarcely imagine that 
you are likely to disturb our dear friends of the I.O.T.A. 
And yet if you could wipe that case out, as an old chum of 
yours and a warm admirer, Byde, I should be glad for one. 
I believe in the temperance cause, whether I practise it my- 
self or not ; but there are black sheep in every flock, and 
let them be punished, I say, wherever they may be found.' 
Mr. Byers paused, and cast a sharp glance at the inspector. 
As the latter offered no response, he continued, ' So far, 
however, as these two gentlemen are concerned, I should 
be the last to suggest that they are anything but ornaments 
to the cause they serve. It is true that I know nothing of 
the lecturer who has just arrived from headquarters in 
London ; but the Paris agent of the I.O.T.A. is a man of 
the loltiest probity, from all I hear. I shall very likely be 
entrusted with Brother Bamber's insurances, his own life 
and perhaps that of Mrs. Bamber, in one company, and the 
property of the I.O.T.A. in another. With regard to Brother 
Neel, after all, I am not qualified to speak. By-the-bye, it 
appears that Neel came over in last night's mail from Lon- 
don — the train in which this murder was committed. I 
suppose you know that, however ? He does not recognise 
the victim, he says. Bather curious that, isn't it? The 
papers say there were not many passengers by the train. 
And yet, of course, you can't be expected to notice every 
passenger who travels by the train you may happen to come 
ty, although there may be few of them. Still, in anybody 


with a black mark against him in the police records of either 
London or Paris, oversight of that sort would be looked at 
twice. Yes, there's the world ! Just the difference between a 
fustian jacket, or a bit of Scotch tweed, and a shiny black 
coat with a sham clerical cut to it and a starched white 
cravat at the top of a high waistcoat.' 

' I know he travelled by the mail last night,' said Mr. 
Byde ; ' they told me so. But I don't suppose he noticed 
anybody from the time he left London to the moment he 
arrived here. These trading teetotal spouters are always 
thinking over their platform effects. I dare say he passes 
the whole of his time tampering with statistics, or inventing 
" fatal instances of alcoholic excess which, my dear friends, 
have fallen within my own personal observation." ' 

Mr. Byers laughed, and laughter suited him. His clear 
eyes twinkled merrily, his florid visage deepened in its glow; 
and at the temples and the corners of the mouth the lines 
lay so disposed as to lure into responsive mirth the least 
sympathetic of spectators, whether frigid or stupid, or merely 
artificially reserved. Even the passenger from Scotland Yard, 
who knew the laugh of old, yielded to it. 

' Like old times,' sighed Mr. Byers presently, ' to see you 
sitting there, and hear you talk like that. Ah, those old 
times ! None of you would let me rest. And yet you could 
never show any ground for your suspicions ! Ha ! ha 1 ha ! 

' No, we could never prove anything,' replied the inspector. 
' You were always too sharp for us, Benjamin.' 

' I was always unjustly accused, you mean !' 

' Ah, yes, that was it ! I remember now, " Innocent 
Ben," we used to call you at the Yard : " Old Ben Byers, 
the receiver — Innocent Ben." It looked bad for you, though, 
in that fraudulent pretences case ; a,nd now I think of it, 
that must have been your last appearance in public over 
there ?' 

' Quite right ; that was the last. And an abominable 
miscarriage of justice that case threatened to be !' said Mr. 
Byers, in a complaining tone. ' I was as nearly falling a 
victim to appearances, in that case, as ever an innocent 
man was in this world. My counsel brought me off, but a 
pretty sum it cost me ! I thought it best to leave the 
country after that. The Yard was too eager. You would 


have driven me into a conviction or a lunatic asylum, if I 
had stayed. No, I got out of it. I took my little savings 
to America, and as there's no chance for an honest man in 
the United States, came over here at the first opportunity, 
and set up. But it was hard to be persecuted in one's 
native country, and to be driven abroad !' 

' Never mind, Benjamin,' returned Mr. Byde good- 
humouredly. ' That's all over now, and you've had a fresh 
start — and it seems to agree with you. Of course you have 
too much sense to mix up with compromising people for 
the future. What led you to the Morgue this afternoon ?' 

' What led me to the Morgue ? I'm sure I don't know : 
curiosity, I suppose. What led other people to the Morgue? 
I read of this mysterious occurrence in a special edition of a 
morning paper, and, as I happened to be passing, just looked 
in. Did anyone ever meet with persons like these gentle- 
men from Scotland Yard ! What led me to the Morgue ! 
Come, now, Mr. Byde, that's very unkind of you — it is 
indeed !' 

' Well, don't be angry ! I'm bound to ask questions, you 

' What led me to the Morgue ? Now, I am really very 
much hurt, Mr. Byde — I am indeed — very much hurt, by 
the way you put that question. It's most unkind. What 
led your I.O.T.A. friends to the Morgue?' 

' I led them there.' 

' That may be satisfactory enough,' retorted the visitor, 
profoundly wounded by the abrupt demand. ' But, at any 
rate, I was not a passenger by the night-mail !' 

Grandpa blew his nose with vehemence, and was visibly 
affected. His host endeavoured to appease him, and grandpa 
at length recovered his cheerfulness. He no longer spoke, 
however, in the sanctimonious tone which had been notice- 
able at the outset of their interview. 

' As to that murder,' said he, ' I rather wonder what the 
motive could have been.' 

' Bind out the motive,' replied the inspector, ' and you find 
out the man.' 

' Is that your maxim ?' 

• One of them.' 

' And you rely upon it ?' 

• Not I ! The man in my business who relies upon 


maxims will either go wrong or make no progress at all. 
My maxims are as good as the rest of them — that is to say, 
useless truisms, or only half true. " Clierchez la femme," 
they say here. That may do in France, but it won't hold 
water in an Anglo-Saxon community. And I should think 
that here, too, the criminal must often be delighted to see 
the police hunting desperately for some feminine intrigue as 
the commencement of their clue. What are all these maxims 
worth? "If there were no receivers, there would be no 
thieves," says a prisoner to me the other day in the cell. 
" If there were no thieves," I told him, "there would be no 
receivers." ' 

' Good !' commented grandpa. 

Inspector Byde hauled his two pipe-cases out of his 
pocket, and began, as was his custom, to weigh inwardly 
their respective claims. 

' I must be going,' said grandpa ; ' on my way home I 
have a call to make.' The inspector stirred the fire, and 
pulled at the bell-rope. ' But now that I know where to 
rind you,' continued his guest, rising, ' I shall call in pass- 
ing, and take my chance. You don't go back yet, of 
course ?' 

' Can't say.' 

' Well, to-morrow, if you are in the neighbourhood of the 
Eue des Petits Champs — here's my card — ah ! by the way, the 
name is Bingham, as you see, not Byers. Byers is defunct. 
Obliged to do it, sir ! Hard lines, but obliged to do it. 
Driven out of your native country, and forced to take up 
another name ! Cruel, sir, cruel ! Ah ! the law can make 
terrible mistakes.' 

' When were you last in England ?' 

' Long, long ago. Ah, dear old England ! " With all her 
faults," you know, etc. Well, well! Occasionally I receive 
a visitor from the old country — business, pure business — 
insurance agency, and that sort of thing, you know !' 

' Keep clear of compromising characters, Benjamin.' 

' Oh, my dear Mr. Byde — come, come ! — I suppose further 
details of that murder case will be out by this time. Strange 
thing that man Neel never noticed his fellow-passenger. 
Ten hours' journey— two changes— long stoppage at Calais 
• — travellers not numerous : strange thing !' 

When the door had closed behind his visitor, and the 



■waiter bad brought up his tumbler of hot grog, the Inspector 
resumed his survey of the two pipes, and eventually decided 
for the ' considering-cap.' He reopened the blotting-pad, 
and selected a sheet of note-paper on which no diagrams 
had been traced. Then, each sentence punctuated with a 
puff of smoke, and with the Sphinx looking down serenely 
on his labours, he indited by easy stages the subjoined 
paragraphs : 

' If A (Byers) is known to B (from Scotland Yard) as 
confirmed suspicions character, is not B justified in regard- 
ing C (Bamber) and D (Neel), acquaintances or possible 
associates of A, as hypothetically suspicious characters ? 

' But if A were involved in any illicit transactions with 

C, would he not carefully avoid all mention to B of his 
acquaintance with C, especially under the peculiar circum- 
stances of B's former relations with A? 

' If A, conversing with B, repeatedly introduces the 
name of D, in direct connection with a certain mysterious 
affair, is not B justified in suspecting A of a desire to com- 
promise D in the judgment of B ? 

' Now, if A wishes B to suspect D, might it not be in 
order to divert the attention of B from A himself, or from 
A's associate E (unknown) ? 

' A has, therefore, presumably, no illicit transactions with 

D. And A either suspects I) in connection with mysterious 
affair, or, having himself (A) or E to shield, wishes D to 
be suspected by B. Whence, 

' To watch both A and D ; and to find E.' 

To find E, the unknown person or persons. Persons? 
The very men who came from London by the night-mail, he 
would lay his life upon it ! And Toppin had missed them ! 
Well, they would now see what the value of it might prove 
■ — this famous registration system of the Paris police. Toppin 
had declared that they would have these men in a couple of 
days. But suppose A, through E, we would say, had 
certain special reasons, bona-fide, for suspecting D ? Phew ! 
what a stroke of luck! The inspector put his pipe down 
with a look of gratitude at the Sphinx. The good ideas he 
owned to that pipe ! — it was amazing ! 

At that moment, A and D were chatting together quite 
pleasantly in the Hotel dss Nations, Bue de Compiegne. 


The temperance question, from the actuarial point of view, 
tormed the suhject of their colloquy. Mr. Bingham, lie 
Byers, had called upon the lecturer of the I.O.T.A., Brother 
N,el, as he had offered to do in the afternoon; and in 
N<v. itt, the comfortable chamber tenanted by Brother Neel, 
the ' confirmed suspicious character ' was expatiating on the 
superiority of ' teetotal lives.' Ho congratulated Brother 
Neel upon his excellent quarters — not too high up, and 
wonderfully tranquil for the vicinity of the station. Mr. 
Bingham walked round the spacious room with the experi- 
enced air of the Paris resident. No noisy neighbours, he 
hoped ? Ah, true ; the room was at the extremity of the 
corridor — that he had perceived on his arrival. The party- 
wall of the building would, of course, lie on that side, quite 
so ; and from that direction consequently there could be no 
disturbance. Still, a very little might disturb us sometimes 
when we were engaged on difficult work, actuarial calcula- 
tions for instance, or the details of the I.O.T.A. The neigh- 
bour on the other side might, perhaps — what, no neighbour '? 
Unoccupied for the present — the bedroom adjoining? Most 
fortunate for Brother Neel, if he had work to do ; so much 
the better in the interests of his tranquillity. Would look 
in to-morrow on the matter of the proposed policy. Good- 
night ! — And so No. 19 was untenanted ! 


Mr. Bingham did look in on the following morning, but af) 
a strangely unseasonable hour. No one was stirring, when 
he presented himself next day, but the earliest of the hotel 
servants. He had brought with him an invalid friend who 
had travelled all night from the South of France, he 
remarked to the porter, an Alsatian peasant, who had a 
surly and half-imbecile air. The apartment for his com- 
panion was already taken , he had engaged it himself on the 
previous night. The room was No. 19, on the second floor, 
almost at the extremity of the corridor. 

ilis invalid friend had been a great sufferer, added Mr. 
Bingham, when they had assisted the new-comer to an arm- 
chair m the hall. Urgent business was recalling him to 
England, but the state of his health required that he should 



break the journey for a day or two, and. for a day or two, 
therefore, he should remain in Paris. "Was the room No. 
19 ready for its occupant ? Everything quite in order ? 
Capital. Then we would have the fire lighted at once, and 
we would support No. 19 upstairs to his apartment. Oh, 
he had grown stronger on the breezes of the Mediterranean, 
but there was still much to be desired. Just now, the 
fatigues of a long journey, and sleeplessness, were telling 
upon him ; but with repose and quiet he would soon re- 
cuperate. An undermining sort of malady, though. What 
malady ? Well, something constitutional — debilitated frame 
— took after his parents. Mr. Bingham had known his 
young friend's father well, and it was exactly the same kind 
of physique — ainsi, voyez ! Oh, but he was not always 
prostrated like this. The vigour he would exhibit sometimes 
would even astonish his medical advisers — and they were of 
the best. Eepose he needed, and tranquillity — tranquillity 
and judicious nursing. Luckily, he could pay well. The 
invalid understood little of these explanations, it seemed. 
He lay back languidly, enveloped in his rugs, and hardly for 
a single moment unclosed his eyes. 

' How pale he looks, the poor young gentleman ; and how 
drawn his features are !' 

' Ah, you may well say so — yes, indeed;' acquiesced Mr. 
Bingham, who had seen to that matter before he started 
with his young friend for the Hotel des Nations, and who 
stood for a minute or two critically studying his own handi- 

The early servants were beginning to sweep the corridors, 
as the new arrivals passed along. On the second-floor, a 
citizen of the Bepublic who had unmistakably the scowl of 
him who nourishes in secret dreams of an anarchical Utopia, 
was collecting, with a moody resignation, pairs of boots 
thrown outside the bedroom doors. He treated the boots 
less roughly than, perhaps, could he have had his way, he 
would have treated their unconscious owners. And yet, as 
they proceeded slowly down the corridor towards No. 19, 
the visitors observed him kick one or two pairs savagely, as 
though their elegance offended him. He spat, indeed, on 
some : they had blue silk linings, high heels, and innumer- 
able buttons ; and, as the visitors moved by, he turned and 
stared insolently at them, with undisguised contempt and 


hatred. The spectacle of the invalid brought to his face a 
sneer of gratification and of the bitterest malignity. 

' A subscriber to the Lanterns V asked Mr. Bingham. 

' Oh, worse than that !' replied their conductor smilingly, 
and still turning over in his pocket the piece of gold given 
him by this affable old gentleman. ' Gregoire is our black- 
ilag politician. If you could hear him talk downstairs, in 
the kitchen, about the next rising of the people ! I'm 
advanced, myself ; I want the Commune, but I don't go so 
far as Gregoire, in the means. He'd begin by a massacre 
of all the persons staying in the hotel— all except the 
foreigners, that is ; and then all the servants who refused to 
join his revolutionary group should be marched into the 
street, in front there, and shot. He wants to see all the 
well-to-do classes exterminated, and then to have everybody 
do every description of work by turns. All that I fear, 
monsieur, is one thing : that Gregoire may some day lose 
his patience and change his doctrine. And that is why I 
have ventured to trouble monsieur with such long details 
after monsieur's generosity, and monsieur being a foreigner 
— indeed, an English, who are not cruel to the working man. 
Gregoire might be driven one day by his hatred to put his 
theory into execution ; justifying theft, as we call it, 
Gregoire might one day commit theft. And that — ah, but 
that would change our sentiments towards our confrere ! 
Just imagine, for one minute, how we should all be 
compromised ! I say nothing against advanced views — 
monsieur is perhaps conservative in his own country ? No ? 
— but I don't see that all the rest of us should possibly incur 
suspicion because we have a confrere whose political school 
denies the rights of property. No, monsieur ! I have a 
young nephew who would like to take his place, and who 
seeks to enter a good establishment. Anything, therefore, 
that monsieur might miss from his room should be men- 
tioned. Monsieur will pardon me ? — and this is in confidence. 
But of course in these observations I study alone the interest 
of monsieur and of the establishment.' 

Left to themselves at last, in No. 19, Mr. Bingham and 
his invalid companion alike underwent a marked alteration 
of demeanour. The invalid pitched his hat across the room, 
stretched his arms, and gaped. His elderly friend drew bia 
chair up to the recently-lighted fire. 


' What was he talking r.Lcut all that time, grandpa?' 
inquired the invalid. 

' Oh, it's too long to repeat. But there's something in it 
that might turn out useful.' Mr. Bingham hummed a little- 
tune and stared into the fireplace. 

' Lucky we had that snack before we started, grandpa. 
But I shall soon be hungry again— and I'm thirsty, now, I 
give you the tip. Ain't you ?' 

' Now, Bat, you just listen to me,' said the other, without 
paying any attention to this hint. ' I'm paying most of the 
expenses of this little affair, and I expect you to do the best 
you can for me. You've got to do your best, to-day. It's 
for your own good as well as mine.' 

' All right, grandpa ; don't you be uneasy. If it's in my 
line, I'll do it. Is it here I'm to go to work ?' 

' On one of those two doors ; and in the meantime you 
must not be heard. On the other side of one of these doors 
you're going to find the Wilmot diamonds.' 

« What ?' 

' Just so ! I brought you away this morning for no 

other reason.' 

' Grandpa, old Clements ain't in it with you ! — no, n:.r 
Byde from Scotland Yard. And as for me and Sir John — 
well, there ! Bar accidents, and I shall do it, if it's to be 
done at all. But if I'm to go to work in here with any 
confidence I must know that you're outside on duty !' The 
speaker had adopted now as low a tone as his compani n. 
He threw open his roomy ulster, and unwound his woollen 
scarf ; and the weazen face and slight proportions were 
those of Finch, alias Walker. He locked the door by which 
they had entered. 

Some time elapsed before they heard their neighbours 
move in either of the rooms adjoining. The chamber they 
were occupying belonged properly to a complete suite ; but, 
as often happens in the Paris hotels, the several apartments 
had been let off singly ; inter-communication being arrested 
by the locked doors, which are usually hidden by tapestry, 
curtains, or a massive wardrobe. The suite can be restored 
at will, either wholly or in part. A convenient device for the 
hotel-keeper, the system proves less agreeable for his tenants. 
One is often an involuntary auditor ; one is often unwittingly 
overheard. Eaves-droppers are well housed in these hotels. 


' Which is it ?' murmured Mr. Finch, indicating the 
opposite doors, to the right and to the left of the windows. 

His companion nodded in the direction of a mahogany 
toilette-table, to the right. It had been placed against the 
door communicating with No. 21, which was the spacious 
chamber at the end of the corridor, to the left hand, allotted 
to Brother Neel. 

' Key in the lock on the other side ?' demanded Mr. 
Finch. His companion rose, and moved silently towards 
the toilette-table. A curtain nailed above the door and 
descending to the ground concealed the lock from their 
view, and in the dull light of the morning Mr. Bingham, 
as he held the curtain away, could not satisfy himself on 
the point. ' Strike a match,' whispered Mr. Finch. Grandpa 
shook his head ; their neighbour might be awake at this 
moment, and might hear them. It was just as well that 
Brother Neel should still suppose the adjoining room un- 
occupied. 'Hoar!' muttered Mr. Finch; 'he won't hear 
this, I'll lay a thousand!' 

In another instant he held a small flame in the hollow of 
his hand. Noiseless matches formed part of Mr. Finch's 

' Door locked, and the key not on the other side,' whis- 
pered Finch, alias Walker, after an extremely knowing 
examination. He helped to move the toilette-table slightly, 
produced a second little flame, and passed ro up and down 
the edge of the door. ' No lower bolt on the other side,' he 
pronounced ; ' and let's hope there's no higher one. Door 
opens this way.' 

They replaced the piece of furniture against the curtain. 
Presently a stir in the far room announced the awakening 
of, at any rate, one of their two neighbours. He appeared 
to be a French gentleman with a retentive memory for the 
refrains of Paris concert halls. ' Ther&se, Th&r&se. ' — he 
tiirew off encouragingly at intervals, as he clattered about 
his apartment — ' Mats toi done d ton aise /' — adding the 
exhortation, now and then — 

' Z\e fais pas de facjons ! — 
(J'est bientot Char-en-ton !' 

' What does he say ?' murmured Mr. Finch suspiciously. 
Mr. Bingham was too intent upon the enterprise before 


them to respond. The Gaul in the nest room varied his 
references to Charenton, and his counsels to Therese, by a 
verse or two from sentimental ditties, which he intoned in 
a vibrating falsetto, and for which he would occasionally 
'encore' himself with great enthusiasm. 'He wouldn't 
sing like that if I had him on the Dials,' growled Mr. Finch. 
* Tu m'as jprcmis tin baiser ce soir !' quavered the vocalist, 
imitating the applause of the gallery im m ediately afterwards, 
and vociferating, 'Bis ." They heard a crash of broken glass, 
and the vocalist subsided into a species of prose which 
brought a fleeting smile to grandpa's countenance. ' Put 
his elbow through the looking-glass, I dare say, commented 
Mr. Finch. 

The voice of some person apparently declaiming met their 
ears, however, from the opposite direction. The two occu- 
pants of No. 19 exchanged glances. They had nothing to do 
but wait in patience. 

Yes, it was the eloquent lecturer of the I.O.T.A. exer- 
cising in his platform style. He kept his voice at a sucdued 
pitch, but most of its rehearsed modulations they could 
follow with ease. Now he assailed with impetuous ire the 
demon tempter lurking in every nook, beneath myriad dis- 
guises. The alluring shape and the deceptive blush — 
Alcohol ! The honeyed accents of the faithless lover — 
Alcohol ! Betrayals of the husband's trust — desertions cf 
the faultless wife — unnatural neglect by parents, barbarous 
abandonment by ungrateful offsprine: — fraud, insolvency, 
ruin — Alcohol ! — ' yes, my friends ; in every physical and 
social ill, in all deformities of mind and body, in sickness 
and in woe, under the mask of pleasure and in every linea- 
ment of vice — we can detect and stamp out, if we choose, 
tbe serpent form and the envenomed sting of Alcohol !' 

Brother Neel repeated the various clauses of the foregoing 
denunciation with different inflections of the voice, and at 
differing speed. He tried the sentence in a sustained high 
key ; then in a measured, awe -stricken bass ; and finally he 
mixed both manners in about equal proportions. He seemed 
a little undecided about the construction of the final clause. 
Should it not run, ' detect the serpent form, and stamp out 
the envenomed sting,' or, say, ' detect the envenomed sting, 
and stamp out the serpent form ' — or, stay : would not ' ser- 
pent shape ' go better, because of the alliteration, — ' serpen- 


tino shape,' rather? — no, not 'shape,' because we had had 
'alluring shape' at the commencement; 'serpent form,' 
then, or ' coils :' yes ? — ' serpent coils ' was good, was it not ? 
Brother Noel disposed of this point, and proceeded to re- 
hearse the vein of anecdote 

' Why, my dear friends, the other day a poor man same 
to me, and he said — he was a poor miner, my dear friends, 
and he had been a miner from his youth upward, and his 
father was a miner, and he said — and his face was careworn 
and his limbs were weary, and he had waited at our temper- 
ance hall until the hour came for our evening conference, 
when we meet together for our mutual comfort and our 
mutual inspiration — for who amongst us is there that can 
say he never flagged and never faltered in the arduous on- 
ward march '? — and this poor man came to me, and he said, 
" Guv nor," he said, " I want to leave off drink." Oh, my 
dear friends, what welcome words were those ! " I want 
to leave off drink, guv'nor," he said. And he stood with his 
grimy face and his horny hands, and he looked at me so 
wistfully, and he said to me so simply and so earnestly, 
"Guv'nor, it's a 'ard life, working in the pits!" And I 
gazed into his grimy face, and I grasped his horny hand, 
and I said to this poor man, I said, " And it's drink that 
makes it hard." And, oh, my dear friends, if you had seen 
that honest face light up with relief and joy and hope ! — 
and my heart bounded and throbbed within me — and he 
said, " Guv'nor, I want to leave off working in the pits." 
And I said, " It's the alcohol you loathe and abhor, my dear 
friend, is it not?" And he said, "Yes, guv'nor; and the 
pits." And I said, " Can you leave off alcohol, and be like 
me? Am I not happy without alcohol ?" And he replied, 
" Guv'Dor, that's what I've come about. I want to leave 
off alkeroil, and be like you. It's a 'ard life working in the 
pits. I want to be happy like you ; and if you'd take me 
in and learn me to preach to people, guv'nor, I'd leave off 
alkeroil. And so would my missus, and so would my son." 
And that poor man has been rescued, my dear friends — 
rescued from the curse of drink ; and his son and his wife 
have been rescued also ; and now they are missionaries of 
the I.O.T.A., well clad, comfortably housed, and content, 
and receiving three times their former wages. And such is 
the value of a good example that we have since had innu- 


raerable applications from that poor man's district, for 
similar places in the I.O.T.A. Ah, yes, the cause is prosper- 
ing, my friends ' etc., etc. 

' That's him, sure enough,' remarked Mr. Finch, whose 
frown had disappeared. ' He's preaching to himself.' 

' Do you think you can do it, with what I have here ?' 
asked his companion in a cautious undertone. ' They're 
not what you have been used to ; they're of French make, 
you know.' 

' Let's have a look at them, to see how they make 'em in 
this country.' Mr. Bingham produced a bunch of skeleton 
keys, upon which articles Ins young friend bent an intelli- 
gent scrutiny. 'French make, are they?' he continued. 
' Well, then, give me Clerkenwell !' 

' Can't you work with them ?' 

' Oh, I'll undertake to do it. I'd do it with three 
hairpins, grandpa, if you could spare them out of your 
chignon !' 

' Well, the first chance we find we'll lose no time about it. 
If this is the man who's got the property, to-night would be 
too late. If the Wilmot diamonds are in his possession at 
all — and I'd stake my life upon it — he can only leave them 
in his portmanteau in that room under lock-and-key, or else 
carry them about with him. There is one other place where 
they might be ; but though they might be there to-morrow, 
or to- ight, I do not think they can be there already. When 
he goes out of his room presently, we shall see whether they 
are stored away in his portmanteau. If they are not in his 
portmanteau, he is carrying them about with him. If he is 
carrying them about with him ' 

' I object to violence, grandpa, as you know. I told old 
Clements I wouldn't have anything to do with violence.' 

' You can't object to it more than I do !' ejaculated 
grandpa, with virtuous emphasis, but still speaking in low 
tones. ' I always have set my face against violence. But 
we can't stand in Sir John's way, if he fancies a short cut 
rather than a long way round. And if our man in the next 
room should persist in carrying stolen property about with 
him in the streets of Paris, why Jack may as well have a 
try for it as any of the garrotters here. You haven't come 
all this distance for nothing, I should hope ? I haven't gone 
into this spec — and spent my money on it when times are 


bad, and given my energies to it — for nothing, I can t".U 
ynu ! That man in the next room is a thief. He is a thief 
on as big a scale as ever I saw ; and he's something else, 
too, if we put the dots upon the "i's." However, we don't 
concern ourselves about anything but the property. We 
don't care how he came by it ; we believe he's got it, and 
we mean to take it from him. Now, if he chooses to cany 
the valuables about with him, he'll have to reckon with Sir 

' Well, you know what Sir John is. He'll very likely 
follow his old tack : hit this man on the head, put him 
out, and manage to throw all the appearances on to us, 

' Not while J am in the neighbourhood, Bartholomew, will 
he manage to throw appearances on to us. But I don't 
believe our man would carry the stones about with him. 
It's all against that. "Why ? He knows very well that if he 
did happen to be suspected by the French police — how can 
we say that he was not seen by some other passenger, a 
Frenchman, perhaps, and that they may not be making 
their preparations, now, to come down upon him? — and 
that's why we must lose no time — if he did happen to be 
suspected, the people from the Prefecture would take him 
just as they'd take any rough out of the streets, and they'd 
search him without any ceremony. What do they under- 
stand about Brother this and Brother that ; and what do 
they care? We are not in England. Now, suppose that 
diamonds of extraordinary value are found upon his person, 
what answer can he give ? But if a fortune in diamonds 
c-hould be found concealed in his trunk at the hotel he could 
always reply, however preposterous it would seem, that 
" some malicious person must have placed them there "—the 
real thief, perhaps. And that is what he would say, in a 
minute, and in England it would go down with a lot of 
people. The I.O.T.A. would back him up in England, and 
most probably present him with a testimonial. No ; he'll 
leave the property hidden somewhere in his portmanteau. 
And to convey the impression that there's nothing of any 
value in his room to tempt the servants, it's odds he leaves 
his door unfastened when he goes downstairs to the table- 
d'hute breakfast! You think these instruments will do? 
The lock of the door you can deal with, I know ; but what 


about the portmanteau ? A portmanteau was the only 
luggage he had that I could see.' 

' Don't you trouble about that, grandpa. I was educated 
by parents that did their duty by their Bartholomew, the 
eldest of seven. I'll unlock any portmanteau in this house 
with these instruments,' said Mr. Finch, adding, as he spread 
out his delicate fingers, ' and these !' 

' Bat, you're a smart boy ! What a pity you live in 
London : there's a fortune to be made here by an artist like 
you ! Why don't you come and set up ? I'd run you.' 

' Not me ! Leave London for this place ? Why, they tell 
me there are never any fogs here ; I should be out of work 
half the time. Leave London? Leave Soho, where I was 
born — and Begent Street, Piccadilly, and Oxford Street, 
where I've earned my living since I could use my hands — 
not me, Mr. Wilkins — no, sir !' 

' I could put you in a good line, Bartholomew. It would 
pay you well.' 

' Thank you, grandpa — but I J d rather stay in London, 
on a little. All my relations live in Saint Giles's parish ; 
except Uncle Simon, who went to Birmingham to set up, 
and was committed a fortnight ago to take his trial at 
Warwick Assizes. Give me the West-end on a foggy 
night !' 

' Your parents must be proud of you, Bartholomew.' 

' Oh, I'm a good mechanic. That I will say ; but you 
should see my second brother ! There's one thing I can not 
undertake to do, grandpa, and I dare say you've thought of 
it. I'll unlock this door, and I'll unlock that portmanteau, 
but I'm if I can undertake to lock them again, after- 
wards !' 

' That's a little matter we can risk. Our man will make 
no fuss, when he finds it out. At the worst, there is some- 
body in this building we can throw suspicion upon.' 

' Suppose we get it, what are you going to do with Sir 
John ?' 

' Leave him where he is till we're out of danger. We 
can't have him hampering us, while there's any danger; he'll 
get his share all in good time.' 

' But you said that the police here would be safe to 
pounce upon him in two or three days, if he stays in the 
same hotel ?' 


' And I say so still. What of that? It gives us time to 
get clear, and to negotiate the stones. They couldn't prove 
anything against him, and they'd be bound to let him go. 
If we had him with us in this room he'd spoil everything — 
with his rage against the man next door for besting him in 
the train. This man got there first, there's no doubt about 
it, and Jack would be at him, if he had to cut through that 
wall. When Mr. Toppin and the French police have had a 
look at the hotel registers for yesterday morning, they're 
certain to turn up at Jack's address. Let them take him. 
A week or so in the Depot won't do him any harm !' 

' The Depot ? What's that— quod ?' 

' Yes ; and not so nicely furnished as the House of 

' Grandpa, look here ! It's all square between us three, 
isn't it ? We're not going to sell old Jack, are we, 
grandpa ?' 

' Sell him ? Of course not ! He'll be all right. He's 
come over on a trip — that's his story. He's going on to 
Nice and Cannes, and broke the journey at Paris, to enjoy 
himself. If they identify him, he took a false name because 
he knew the other might get him stopped, and he wanted 
change of air and a little amusement. When I paid your 
bill this morning, I told them you were going on first. Let 
Mr. Toppin have him put au secret, and let the police search 
him for a week, if they like. They won't find anything, as 
Jack himself says, now that he has removed those blood- 
stains. Awkward, those stains ; but he had no luck. While 
they are engaged with friend Jack, you and I will be in 

' It must be all square between us three, grandpa ; or 
else I don't go to work.' 

' Sell Sir John ? I wouldn't think of such a thing. When 
he came out, he'd swing for the man who sold him !' There 
was a pause. ' It might perhaps be disagreeable for Sir 
John if they found a firearm in his possession. What 
weapons does he carry ?' 

' I thought of that,' replied Mr. Finch, ' and last night I 
did what I could to set my mind at rest. I never saw him 
with any weapon but the dagger in that cane he carries.' 

' Would you like to get through this without me, since 
it has taken a different turn ?— come, now 1 I've put you on 


the right track, but I'll pull up at this instant if I'm objected 
to in this affair. For all I know, if I chose I could manage 
it by myself, for myself ; and even if you got the diamonds 
you might lose them again ; and somebody J know, and yu 
don't know, and Clements never heard of in his life, might 
be the party who would find them.' 

' Me lose them, to anyone here ! I'll lay a thousand no 
one here can give me any lessons.' 

' Suppose you went to sleep for a few hours, hey ? 
Suppose you were not in the least sleepy, and you suddenly 
went to sleep — very soundly to sleep ? Oh, I have a good 
many strings to my bow, and I know your name is Walker!' 

' I'd lay a thousand no one ' 

' Well, well, we'll drop tbat side of it. But if you get this 
property, how can you liquidate it ? You can't witbout the 
aid of Benjamin Byers, deceased. Can eitber you or Sir 
John put any of these diamonds on the market, even the 
small ones, if there are any small ones ? How many can 
Clements, a known receiver, dispose of ? But I can do it in 
half an hour among my clients in Amsterdam ! I can pass 
every one of them through the market — yes, and at fail- 
terms ! But if you'd like to see me out of this, if you d like 
to go on by yourself — say so !' 

' Me ? Such a thought has never come into my head, I'm 
sure. Why, what a state you're in about it, grandpa I 
You shall hold the property yourself. I'm not afraid of the 
confidence-trick being done on me / Go on without you, 
grandpa? not me ! No, sir — not me, Mr. Wilkins !' 

A waiter knocked at the door, and, on Mr. Bingham's 
unfastening it, inquired whether the invalid young gentleman 
would not wish to have a slight repast served in his apart- 
ment instead of descending. Most decidedly, was Mr. 
Bingham's answer. His young friend would take all his 
meals in his own room. And breakfast could be brought up 
to them as soon as it was ready. The repast need not 
necessarily be a slight one. He had a prodigious appetite 
himself, and he should remain to keep his young friend 
company. The waiter stood upon the threshold and peered 
inquisitively into the room. He could not see tbe invalid 
at all, and Mr. Bingham made way for him to enter. 
' Monsieur slumbers '?' asked the waiter, in a whisper. Mr. 
Bingham could not say, and he moved on tiptoe to the bed 


and gently pulled the curtain on one side. He shrugged his 
shoulders, with a gesture of uncertainty, but whispered that 
the breakfast might, all the same, be served as soon as it 
was ready Mr Finch, who had taken a flying leap through 
the bed-curtains when the knock came at the door, was 
breathing in a laboured manner, and occasionally he uttered 
plaintive moans. 

They had finished their repast subsequently — and a pro- 
digious appetite had certainly had full play, although it was 
not grandpa's — when a bell sounded for several moments in 
the court-yard. 

' The table-d'hote !' said Mr. Bingham ; ' get ready.' 

The invalid rose with alacrity, and followed his considerate 
attendant to the corner of the room. Mr. Bingham moved 
quite as noiselessly as Pinch, alias Walker, and the latter 
was in his stockinged feet. They lifted the toilette-table 
from its place. The French gentleman, droning his concert- 
hall refrains, had gone down some time before. They now 
heard their neighbour on the other side preparing to descend. 
There was the click of a lock, and the jingle of a bunch of 
keys. Brother Neel marched with a heavy step to his door, 
opened it, closed it after him, locked it, and passed along 
the corridor. 

' He has locked his portmanteau, and he has locked the 
door of his room, too,' commented Mr. Bingham. ' Good sign !' 

They waited. Other doors communicating with the 
corridor opened and closed ; footsteps resounded for an 
instant, and died away ; and then they seemed to be alone 
in that corner of the building, beyond the possibility of dis- 
turbance. Mr. Bingham produced an odd-looking handful 
of twisted wires, some of which were no coarser than thread. 
He handed them to Mr. Finch. The invalid, who had his 
wristbands turned up, immediately bent down to the lock of 
the door communicating with No. 21. 

Mr. Bingham stepped out of No. 19 into the corridor, and 
shut the door carefully behind him. There was no one to 
be seen. He walked up and down outside the entrances to 
those two chambers situated at the far end of the corridor, 
and then by degrees extended the limits of his patrol. You 
would have said that Mr. Bingham had given a rendezvous 
to somebody who tenanted a room along that corridor, and 
that he was impatient about his non-arrival. 


When Brother Neel, the Chrysostom of the I.O.T.A., re- 
mounted the staircase, a golden toothpick protruding from 
his lips, he was bringing with him a roll of stout brown 
paper and a stick of sealing-wax. The elderly gentleman, 
with the inch or two of white whiskers and the florid pear- 
shaped face, had evidently grown tired of waiting for the 
absentee, for he was no longer to be observed pacing bach- 
wards and forwards in the corridor. Brother Neel pro- 
ceeded towards No. 21, and re-entered his apartment. It 
was just as he had left it — altogether as he had left it. His 
portmanteau stood upon one of the chairs, and on the port- 
manteau lay his newspapers and a bundle of printed docu- 
ments tied together with broad red tape. Just as he had 
quitted it he found the room. 

Brother Neel began to hum — ' I charge thee, halt ! Say 
— friend or foe !' He went to a table and spread out the 
roll of brown paper. Upon this he placed a newspaper 
doubled. He then lighted one of the candles on the mantel- 
piece, and deposited near it the sealing-wax ready for use. 
He transferred the printed documents, and the half-dozen 
journals underneath, to a chair close by, and drew from his 
pocket a small bunch of keys. One of these keys he inserted 
into the lock of the portmanteau. What could be 

wrong with the key? . The portmanteau was already 

unlocked ! 

How was this ? Had he really omitted to secure the 
lock, in spite of his precaution, before quitting the room? 
Brother Neel threw open the portmanteau, tore away the 
uppermost articles, and plunged his hand into a recess, con- 
trived, no doubt, specially for the reception of jewellery or 
valuables of similarly moderate bulk. The keen anxiety of 
his expression, however, disappeared almost at once. From 
the recess he drew an oblong package in white tissue-paper. 
The paper was tarnished here and there with an irregular 
stain ; at the contact of one of these insignificant patches, 
Brother Neel let the little parcel drop from his hands and 
stood for a moment staring at his fingers. It was not terror 
that his countenance now betrayed ; it was not surprise, nor 
was it horror. It was aversion simply that his countenance 
betrayed; and a second longer look at these few barely 
noticeable maculations revealed them to be, not blots of 
dark red ink, but splashes most probably of blood. 


He took up the oblong package again, and partly unfolded 
the outer sheet of tissue-paper in which it had been wrapped. 
At this moment he abruptly looked behind him, penetrating 
every corner and alcove of his apartment with a quick, 
alarmed, suspicious glance. And yet he could have heard 
no sound in either direction, and he had certainly double- 
locked his door. 

The object enveloped in the folds of tissue-paper had the 
form of a pocket-book. But it was not in leather nor pru- 
nello ; it was a sort of pocket-book in black velvet, though 
from its external aspect its contents could not be the corre- 
spondence of the I.O.T.A. The black velvet case was 
neatly bound up with thin bands of green silk. It bulged 
here and there in a curious manner ; perhaps Brother Neel 
kept his signet-rings in this case — or articles of jewellery 
which, in recognition of his merit, might have been presented 
to him by grateful converts, grudging colleagues, or admiring 
friends. He pressed the velvet with the fingers of both 
hands, and then, as the protuberances which met his touch 
satisfied him, replaced the neatly-bound velvet case in the 
first sheet of tissue-paper, and so made up the little package 
as before. The blotches that resembled blood-stains might 
have been consumed in a single minute in the flame of that 
one candle. Far from destroying them, Brother Neel appar- 
ently took pains to expose them precisely as at first, although 
he still avoided touching the marks themselves. Mr. Bing- 
ham, or Inspector Byde, with their experience of the world 
and their trained insight into criminal motive, would have 
assigned an identical reason for this measure, and, with the 
impartiality of experts, might have commended it as an act 
of the most wideawake sagacity. 

Brother Neel surrounded the package with a heap of 
pamphlets and written documents, which he procured from 
his portmanteau. Amidst half-yearly reports, tabular state- 
ments, popular leaflets, etc., it soon became entirely lost to 
view. The papers so accumulated he deposited with great 
care in one of the journals spread out on the table. The 
parcel thus made up he enclosed in another newspaper, and 
then he enveloped the whole in the stouter sheets which he 
had obtained from below The last layer but one he knotted 
securely with cord, and on every knot he placed a seal. The 
final enclosure he paid less attention to ostensibly. He 



sealed it only in a single place, and he attached the cord in 
such a fashion that his precious parcel looked like the most 
ordinary parcel in the world. What he next did was to 
inscribe the name of the society upon the covering. With 
the rusty pen of the inkstand on his mantelpiece, he printed 
in large capitals along the brown-paper covering — ' I.O.T.A., 
Personal Notes, Eeports, etc' 

Later in the day, when discussing business with Brother 
Bamber, at the offices in the Boulevard Haussmann, Brother 
Neel desired him to take temporary charge of documents 
which he should most likely need in the course of his labours. 
They would be more conveniently lodged at that spot than 
at his hotel, so far from the quarters of the I.O.T.A. as well 
as from the National Library, where he should be prosecut- 
ing his researches. Brother Bamber placed the parcel in 
the large safe of the I.O.T.A. 

Brother Neel had not, however, made his journey un- 
observed. The gentleman who had ambled along at a safe 
distance in his rear, from the Bue de Compiegne to the 
Boulevard Haussmann, had stationed himself at a point 
from which he could easily perceive the eloquent lecturer, 
as he issued from the offices again. It was Mr. Bingham 
who thus awaited him ; and Mr. Bingham noted that the 
precious parcel had undoubtedly been left in Brother Bam- 
ber's keeping, at the premises of the I.O.T.A. 


A second visit to the Avenue Marceau had provided matter 
for notes which covered page after page of Mr. Toppin's 
memorandum-book. He did not mean to communicate all 
his information to his London colleague, but the one or two 
facts which he did intend to report relating to the point 
more immediately before them would, he reckoned, rather 
show the inspector that he knew how to conduct an inquiry 
with despatch. About the time that Mr. Bingham and his 
young friend, Mr. Finch, the native of St. Giles's parish, 
were the concealed auditors of Brother Neel's rehearsed 
harangue, Detective Toppin was insidiously plying questions 
in the Avenue Marceau. 


Fact No. 1 : Miss Knollys had received a letter from 
abroad by the last post on the previous evening. The post- 
mark was ' Dover.' 

Fact No. 2 : Miss Knollys had been suddenly taken ill ; 
and Mrs. Bertram, who usually visited a great deal, and 
whose very day of reception this day happened to be, had 
at once given instructions that, in consequence of a family 
bereavement, she was not at home to any callers. 

And so the two ladies were connected by family ties ? 
Well, perhaps they were, and perhaps they were not— how 
could she tell ? — the concierge, had responded. The family 
bereavement was very likely no bereavement at all ; the 
servants had mentioned the orders transmitted to them, but 
they all believed that the sudden indisposition of Mdlle. 
Knollys was the sole ' bereavement ' which afflicted Madame 
Bertram. Bad news, most probably, from England — a 
death ? A death ! — but missives containing intelligence of 
that kind generally had a mourning border, and nothing 
with a mourning border had arrived through the post for 
either lady. Telegram? Well, but no telegrams had been 
delivered at the address for a week or a fortnight. Tenez ! 
— the last telegram that ever came to Madame Bertram's 
address was prior to the arrival of Mdlle. Knollys. It was 
a message from the latter, — announcing her departure for 
Paris, had stated Madame Bertram's maid, when gossiping 
in the concierge's lodge the same afternooon. And, indeed, 
the young lady had arrived that evening with her own maid 
— an Engleesh ! 

Ah — Miss Knollys had an English maid? What sort of 
a person — pleasant-like and sociable ? Sociable ! Ha ! If 
she had a tongue in her head it must be only because it was 
the fashion to have one 1 Could not exchange a word with 
anybody as she stalked in and out of the house, and never 
even looked in the direction of the lodge. A pretty piece of 
assurance, she should think, for an ill-dressed awkward 
grenadier like that to take a place as lady's-maid, when she 
didn't know how to hang her own clothes on her angles ! 
But who ever found an Engleesh, mistress or maid, who had 
the slightest notion of elegance in dress, until they learnt, 
like Madame Bertram, by residence in Paris ? Yes ; ladies'- 
maids like that — there were plenty of them, working in the 
beetroot-fields, in France 1 And as to being ' pleasant,' she 



seemed about as pleasant as the dentists at the free hospital, 
down town. ' But you can judge for yourself,' added the 
concierge ; ' there she goes, out for a little walk before break- 
fast. Drole cle pays, votre Angletcrre ! a country where the 
women get up early in the morning to take walks in the 
cold, for the benefit of their health, as they pretend, when 
it's so much easier to remain in bed !' Mr. Toppin assured 
the virago whom he had bribed into this flow of language 
that the hygienic practice she alluded to was not by any 
means absurdly prevalent among his countrywomen. 

The concierge had glanced through the window which 
commanded from her lodge a view of the lobby. From his 
own position, as he stood conversing with her, Toppin could 
not catch any glimpse of the derided 'Engleesh.' He heard 
the glass-door of the marble lobby opened and closed, 
however. Then, as Miss Knoilvs's maid stepped on to the 
stone pavement leading past the lodge-entrance to the main 
gateway of the building, he saw her, and was struck with 

The maid held an envelope in her hand, and, as she 
approached, it seemed that she was intending, on this 
occasion at any rate, to address herself for guidance to the 
inimical portress. At the lodge door she perceived Mr. 
Toppin. Her hesitation was quite momentary, and might 
easily have escaped notice. She resumed her course, and in 
another instant had passed through the archway into the 
Avenue Marceau. 

' I do believe she had it in her mind to ask me a question,' 
exclaimed the concierge — ' a question with regard to some 
errand, no doubt, on which she has been sent ; a direction, 
perhaps, written on that envelope. Ah, she would have 
been well received ! You would have seen how I should 
have received her ! I should have said, " Mademoiselle, I 
am the portress ;" I should have said, " I am the portress, 
mademoiselle — not the commissionaire of the next comer, 
nor the General Post-Office !" Aha ! — she would have been 
well received. I think I know how to put people in their 
places ! Airs like that ! Would not anyone fancy she was 
the mistress ? Except that the mistress is as gentle and 
unpretending, and refined, from what I have seen of her, as 
the best-born lady of the true high-world : whereas, this — 
that ! That can't speak to honest persons in its own station, 


and gives itself airs because it has a complexion and a 
figure !' 

Toppin gazed at the empty archway. The imperial shape 
had vanished, but — oh, poor Toppin !— it had crossed his 
path. On heedless ears fell the harsh monotone of his 
informant. He could still see a clear pale face, black hair 
and eyebrows, and large dark eyes that looked full at him 
for a moment — large eyes of the darkest blue. 

' Airs like that ! I think I'd show some taste in toilette 
before I went about posing for a princess. What a costume, 
and what a hat !' 

Mr. Toppin remembered no detail whatever of the hat, 
and of the costume he remembered only that it fitted the 
wearer tightly, and was plain. One fleeting attitude, 
statuesque and unstudied, defined itself again before his 
view, as he stared blankly through the glass doors of the 
lodge; and he half thought he saw again, as the imperial 
shape continued onwards to the archway, the self-conscious 
movement of the handsome woman who knows that she is 
watched admiringly. He had not observed any angles, he 
presently declared ; nor had it occurred to him to guess at 

What did the male sex know about the artifices of the 
toilette ! It was always easy to deceive them — always — ■ 
unless they happened to be man-milliners. But certainly 
monsieur had been impressed by Mdlle Lydia — that 
was the new maid's name — what, not impressed ? Oh, 
there could be no denying the fact ; monsieur was 
undoubtedly impressed. Well, she had a figure and a 
complexion, but as for any taste, grace, or refinement of the 
wardrobe, why, the commonest little street girl of Paris, 
lazy, thoughtless, and slovenly, and loitering on her way to 
school to play at marbles with the telegraph boys, could 
choose her colours or put on a piece of imitation lace with 
more discernment than this professed Engleesh lady's-maid. 
Still, if the striding life-guard who had just gone out 
responded to the notion which monsieur had 'formed of 
feminine attractiveness, why did he not offer to escort her '? 
This Mdlle. Lydia was his compatriot — pas ? At all events, 
the concierge added, she herself really must now turn her 
attention to her regular duties. 

The temptation to offer his assistance to his superb fellow- 


countrywoman, who, after all, if strange to Paris, might have 
been grateful for the aid, had already presented itself, in 
fact, to Mr. Toppin' s mind. What restrained him was a 
sentiment rather unusual with this gentleman — an odd 
feeling of inferiority. If it had been the mistress who was 
masquerading in the maid's attire, the habitual gallantry of 
Mr. Toppin, when he found himself among his social equals, 
could not have been more suddenly frozen. Just as well 
that he had shown her no civility, thought Toppin ; it might 
have involved him in attentions which would have distracted 
him from the inquiry. Ah, it would not do to allow his 
mind to be distracted ; it would not do to let this chance of 
distinguishing himself professionally slip through his fingers ! 
He meant to show Inspector Byde that there was one at 
least of the younger men who understood his business. 
Detective Toppin resumed his interrogation of the portress, 
and by that sagacious female was introduced in an off-hand 
way to one or two domestics of the establishment. The 
process necessitated a disbursement of the fee admitted in 
forensic circles under the designation of the 'refresher.' 
The coachman and the valet de chambre construed ' refresh- 
ment ' in a sense more literal. They adjourned with Mr. 
Toppin to the first turning on the left. Here they were 
welcomed with smiles by the tavern-keeper's wife, who 
called them by their Christian names. The tavern-keeper 
asked them how they felt after their libations of the previous 
night, and placed small glasses of a dark crimson fluid 
before them, without waiting for their order. Mr. Toppin 
lingered in the hope of snapping up some unconsidered trifle 
of the conversation. But although they all talked freely 
upon the inevitable topic among domestics, ' the masters 
and the mistresses,' nothing rewarded his patience but the 
customary sarcasms of the servants' hall. He learnt as 
much about Mrs. Bertram as he could have wished to learn, 
and probably more than was authentic. He failed, however, 
to elicit any substantial information with respect to her 
visitor, Miss Knollys. The character of the majestic Mdlle. 
Lydia could not be expected to escape review from 
acrimonious fellow-servants. She was cold and silent, 
mysterious and disdainful, — ' but with all her prudishness, 
no better than the rest of us, allez !' Toppin heard these 
animadversions with annoyance. He did his best to change 


the subject, and succeeded ; for the actions of that handsome 
Mdlle. Lydia, pronounced Mr. Toppin mentally, could not 
by any possibility be ' material to the inquiry.' 

Toppin was wrong. His colleague, the inspector, would 
have been shocked at the mistake, so gross it was, and 
palpable. In a very different manner would Mr. Byde have 
acted had ho been placed in Toppin's situation ; but Byde 
himself, in delegating an important branch of the inquiry to 
a subordinate, proved that, as grandpa had observed to his 
friends from London, he was not necessarily infallible, 
although eminent and respected, and ' one of the best.' 

Hastening from the Avenue Marceau, Mdlle. Lydia had 
directed her steps towards a cab-rank in the immediate 
vicinity. There she had shown to a cabman the lower part 
of the address upon the envelope ; and in another minute 
the vehicle containing her was being driven rapidly enough- 
in the direction of the Tuileries Gardens. 

The cab stopped at the temporary premises of the General 
Post-Office. The tall figure clad in the plain tight-fitting 
costume alighted quickly from the vehicle, and passed 
through the swinging doors in front of which a sentryman 
was posted. Once inside the building Mdlle. Lydia pro- 
ceeded more leisurely about her errand. It was with the 
poste restante that her business lay. The clerk who sat idle 
at the desk forced her to repeat her application, as he sent 
an insolent stare into her dark and brilliant eyes ; and 
while she wrote her name upon a slip of paper for his better 
comprehension, he coughed in a significant manner to at- 
tract the notice of his comrades. There were no letters 
waiting at the poste restante for a Miss Murdoch — Lydia 
Murdoch — he replied, after a studiously deliberate search. 

The applicant then drew forth the envelope we have 
already seen. It was addressed in a feminine handwriting 
to ' Grenville Montague Vyne, Esq.,' and in the charge of the 
poste restante employe it was forthwith deposited by Miss 
Knollys's maid. The latter made her way back to the 
swinging doors unconscious of the pleasantries exchanged 
behind her. To do them full justice, these dilapidated 
clerks of the French Post-Office refrained from raising their 
voices to an unmannerly and compromising pitch ; and 
their comments were either in ' half-words ' intelligible to 
themselves alone, or in broken phrases which, if challenged, 


could be indignantly repudiated with the most convincing 
invocations of personal honour — as usual. 

By the time Miss Murdoch had returned to the Avenue 
Marceau, Toppin was well on his way to the Detective De- 
partment of the Paris Police, He de la Cite. The functionary 
upon whom he made his call kept him kicking his heels in 
an outer office for a longer period than Mr. Toppin thought 

' Eh bien, Monsieur Toppeen ?' demanded the functionary 
in question, in a patronising tone, when he at length ad- 
mitted his visitor to an audience. ' What's the news — quoi 
de neuf V 

' Anything fresh?' asked Mr. Toppin, insinuating a com- 
pliment, and stringing his interlocutor's titles together with 
tolerable fluency. 

'Fresh? Well, as you see, the Ministry are good for 
another six weeks. They came through the vote yesterday 
in excellent style.' 

' I mean about the night-mail affair — the mysterious oc- 
currence in the night-mail from Lcndon?' 

' Oh — bien, bien ! That little business of the Englishman 
— quite so— perfectly ! Well ?' 

' Whenever you need my help, you know, in the difficult 
process of establishing identities, you know — of course, I 
am not aware how far you may have gone — I am at your 
disposal, Monsieur Hy — quite at your disposal, you 

' Yes, yes — identities — at our disposal, Monsieur Toppin — 
identities — yes, yes ! Well, we shall not have to trouble you 
just yet, for the assistance thus amiably offered — not just 
yet — no, mon cher confrere, not yet.' 

' Then, up to the present, your men have lighted upon no 
traces ?' 

'No traces? Tiens, tiens ! — how fast he goes, our ex- 
cellent and admirable Toppin — how fast, how fast ! No 
traces? On the contrary, vton brave — on the contrary, nom 
cl'un chien — yes, nom d'un p'tit lonJiomme ! On the con- 
trary, que diable !' 

' I thought it would be singular, Monsieur Hy, with your 
talents and experience to direct the men.' 

' Oh, oh, obi ! — ca / — We do what we can — we just do 
what we can ! And the health, how goes the health of the 


respectable and valiant confrere, the ingenious, active, and 
invaluable Toppin — the little health, how goes it ?' 

' Not too badly,' answered Toppin, endeavouring to bear 

U P- T . . 

' That's right — that's capital — that's very well. La p tite 

santd va bicn/- — "oh yes! vayry good," as you Bay in 


' Well, you know — when you want my services for the 
identities, you know, or any other portion of the in- 
quiry ' 

'Identities — yes, yes— identities. Eh Men, Toppeen — 
looking over what we fancy we have ascertained, I do not 
think, I really do not think, we shall need to call upon you, 
or to disturb you in the least.' 

' Indeed ! A clue ?' 

' A little clue — a little, little, quite a little clue ! But 
still ' — Monsieur Hy closed his eyes, raised his eyebrows as 
far as they could go, and imitated the sound of an effer- 
vescent beverage escaping from a bottle — ' sufficient !' 

' What ! — you have picked out the murderer ?' 

* Oho — oho ! A rather brutal statement of the proposi- 
tion, that — mon ami Toppeen. Too hurried, too hurried ! 
Affairs like this are not easily decided. You are not going 
to tell me that you get along with such rapidity in London. 
W T hy, the crime was only committed yesterday morning, 
before daybreak !' 

' Just so,' acknowledged Toppin. 

' Well, then !' 

4 But — come, come, Monsieur Hy ! With all respect for 
your authority, I'm not a novice either. Permit me to tell 
you that if you hold a clue it can be only to 0110 of two 
men, and that if you want a speedy identification of them 
I am the only person who can do it.' 

' Two men ? Ah, perfectly ! — the two men you reported 
here yesterday : yes, yes — I have their descriptions by me 
somewhere. The local returns have not yet come in, and 
no far as those individuals are concerned the matter stands 
where it did. No doubt a good many travellers arrived in 
Paris during yesterday and took up their quarters at hotels 
— no doubt, no doubt ! That is one side of the inquiry, and 
we shall explore it as a matter of course. To go through 
all the returns, however, selecting the likely cases, and 


then to attend upon the spot for the final inquiries, will 
require some time. The precaution will not be neglected, 
but we need not distress ourselves. A day or two more or 
less, voyons !' 

The speaker shrugged his shoulders and smiled com- 
passionately upon Toppin. 

' You will pardon me, Monsieur Hy, but don't you think we 
shall be giving these two men the opportunity to change 
their quarters and get away ?' 

' Oh, they shall not get away ! They are foreigners, and 
we have good descriptions of them, through you, mon char 
Toppeen. But to be plain with you, excellent friend, and 
fully recognising your commencfable vigilance, we have 
looked for the guilty person elsewhere.' 

Mr. Toppin offered no response. He knew the capacity 
of the French police for the achievement of astonishing 
discoveries as well as for the perpetration of amazing 

' Yes, we have looked elsewhere,' resumed Monsieur Hy — 
' we have looked in another direction, and we have found — 
firstly, a certain person whom you are acquainted with 
yourself, Toppeen, with whom you have been in commu- 
nication, and whom I should advise you, in a friendly spirit, 
just to keep your eye on.' 

' Qui ca ?' 

' A gentleman who came from London by the night-mail, 
described himself as an English detective officer when the 
train reach Paris, viewed the corpse before the arrival of 
the station commissary, took hasty notes in a suspicious 
manner, and gave a different description of himself entirely 
when he filled up the police-sheet at his hotel opposite. A 
gentleman who wrote down on the police-sheet of the hotel 
that he was a traveller from Brighton, in the department of 
Sussex, and an architect by occupation.' 


' A gentleman who has since received ' — Monsieur Hy 
opened a desk and glanced at a memorandum — ' it was this 
very morning, early, to be exact — a telegram, of which I need 
not say we know the contents, and the sender's name. A gentle- 
man who knew from the commencement that suspicion would 
descend upon certain other persons — viz., the two men our 
laudable Toppeen can identify ; and a gentleman who care- 


fully refrains from acting in concert with the Prefecture, 
but watches our investigations through the loyal, honest 
confrere always welcome with us, Toppeen !' 

Byde ? Inspector Byde ? No ; this was too much ! 
Toppin laughed, loud and long. 

'He in, lie in,' continued the gratified functionary, his face 
beaming with approval — ' have I hit it, hein '! Laugh on — 
that's nervous, that laugh ! I comprehend that it should 
surprise you ; but have I hit it ?' 

' Of course you see what the supposition implies ?' 

' Of course I do.' 

' And do you think it probable for a single instant ? Come 
now, Monsieur Hy, from colleague to colleague, do you mean 
to tell me that you think it probable that a well-known police- 
officer — and I may as well say at once that Byde is one of 
the most respected men in Scotland Yard, the English 
Surete — would take advantage of accidental circumstances 
to commit a robbery, and not only so, but commit a murder 
for the sake of robbery ?' 

' And do you mean to tell me that you think it improb- 
able ? Well, well, Toppeen, mon ton ami, from colleague to 
colleague — we are alone, here — can you look at me fixedly 
in the two eyes and say, knowing what you know, that the 
supposition is extravagant ?' 

' On the English side of the Channel — yes ; altogether 

' Whereas, on this side ?' 

'Oh, I won't permit myself to pass judgment on your 
compatriots, Monsieur Hy ! The man we are speaking of is 
a compatriot of my own.' 

' Well, then, I will permit myself to pass judgment, Mon- 
sieur Toppeen. I know my own compatriots, and I know 
human nature, too, I rather flatter myself — and I flatter 
myself that I don't flatter myself unduly. Given the temp- 
tation, and human nature always yields. But do I say that 
th.3 temptation always arrays itself in the same guise ? Not 
in the least, not in the least. You have to find the moment 
juste, I don't deny it ; but for every — mark me, every — type 
and specimen of human nature there exists some form or 
other of temptation which is irresistible. Why are your 
country-people to be considered as of superior morality to 
my own? Do your newspapers prove that they are so? 


Not exactly ! Why should this Monsieur Byde of necessity 
escape suspicion?' 

' Then that is your precious clue ? You are really aiming 
at Inspector Byde ? who, I don't mind adding for your 
information, came over precisely to watch the movements 
of the deceased.' 

' Ah, indeed ! He came over precisely to watch the move- 
ments of the deceased ? A fact to be noted in the dossier.' 

Monsieur Hy opened the desk again. He propped up the 
lid, put his head inside the desk, and noted his new fact upon 
a sheet of white foolscap, ruled with water lines. Toppin 
reddened with vexation. 

' But I haven't enlightened you upon our " secondly," ' re- 
sumed Monsieur Hy; 'and our " secondly" is serious. For, 
of course, our "firstly" was but academical conjecture — ha, 
ha, ha ! — a case for my volume ; my volume — bah ! a little 
work I am preparing for the use of the police in every 
country with a civilization — a manual, oui, monsieur, a 
manual on " The Theory of Surmise in Undetected 
Grime." ' 

' So you have a " secondly "?' 

' Oui, mon bon! and a substantial " secondly"! otherwise 
— no, don't look at me like that ! — otherwise our worthy 
Toppeen would be legitimately suspected — oh, I justify it 
in the " Theory "! — of connivance in the crime by reason of 
his communications with the suspected criminal. Ha, ha, 
ha ! our worthy, zealous, and patriotic Toppoen, so anxious 
that the Surete shall discover the two men hiding away in 
Paris, taken into custody himself, cast into the felon's cell, 
rigidly cross-questioned by a juge d 'instruction who — we'll 
take it for granted — doesn't like the English, and eventually 
brought up at the Assizes, with his respected confrere, 
who was a passenger from Scotland Yard. Ha, ha, ha ! 
that solemn face would make the joke assassinatingly, 
too exquisitely piercing. What a scene ! — oh, oh, oh ! — 
with that solemn face ! — no, keep that solemn face — don't 
smile ! Ah, mon Dieu, ! I thank thee for the joy of this. 
"What a rapturous tableau — what a deobstruent ! Eh, va 
done, vieux farceur /' 

Monsieur Hy snatched up a long flat ruler, and mirthfully 
poked Toppin in the ribs with it. Mr. Toppin acknowledged 
the fun with a lugubrious smile. 


' What a pity we can't realize such a scene !' continued 
Monsieur Hy, changing to a mournful tone. ' What a pity, 
what a pity ! It would make an artistic situation, and would 
ravish the gallery. Officers of the English Suret6, on the 
track of criminals, tracked themselves, and finally convicted 
by their colleagues of the French Surete ! The man who 
could do that would be made. I could do that. It would 
be a fine illustration of my " Theory," part 2, section 8. 
What an advertisement ! Edition upon edition of " The 
Theory of Surmise in Undetected Crime ;" and the Legion 
of Honour for its author, Michel Auguste Hy. Ah ! what 
a pity we can't manage it !' 

' Can't you manage it, indeed ?' asked Toppin sarcastic- 
ally ; for he was nettlsd. 

' Well, you see, there's our " secondly," which is serious. 
We looked at all the possible hypotheses, I should think, and 
the one we have selected seems to be pretty well borne out 
by the researches. What were the main hypotheses ? Our 
journals talk of a drame intime ; they are always eager to 
insinuate drames intimes — a family scandal or a vengeance. 
Now, to affirm a family scandal, we must know something 
more about the identity of a victim than we can ascertain 
by means of linen marked with only two initials. Then, as 
to the category of vengeances, you have principally those 
which are inspired by women, and those which women 
carry out. We might have spent a great deal of time over 
matters of this sort, had not circumstances helped us to a 
simpler explanation. We say that the present story is the 
common one of murder for the sake of gain. And the 
assassin ? We have him — the assassin.' 

Monsieur Hy reached across the desk for a newspaper. 

' You have him — in custody ?' stammered Toppin. 

' We have him,' repeated Monsieur Hy, turning to the 
money article, and apparently perusing it with keen interest. 
' When I say the assassin, of course I don't mean to 
say that he has been brought up before the Seine Assize 
Court, and found guilty by a jury of his fellow-citizens — 
Three per Cent. Perpetuals, rise of fifteen centimes; Unified, 
stationary ; Portuguese, going up — nor do I mean to 
say that he has yet made his confession. We haven't 
seriously questioned him ; we're waiting — waiting till he 
gets sober.' 


Toppin only partially succeeded in dissembling his be- 

' Banque de Paris, 770 ; stood at 745 day before yester- 
day. Credit Foncier — good ; Credit Lyonnais — — When 
he gets sober we shall question him. Guess who it is 1 
Can't? Why, the guard of the train, mon brave, !' 

' What, the English through-guard ?' 

' No ; the French guard from Calais.' 

' Ah, the French guard from Calais !' 

' Yes. You wouldn't have thought of that?' 

' No ; considering that the rings and other valuables worn 
by the victim were not disturbed, and that there was a fairly 
good sum of money in his pocket.' 

' Money in his pocket, yes ; but how much he had about 
him before he was murdered we don't know. One or two 
of the railway servants fancy they have noticed this man at 
the Gare du Nord as an occasional traveller. His appear- 
ance is that of an ordinary business man, and what sums of 
money he might travel with we can't tell at present. We 
find that the guard has been long enough on the service 
between Calais and Paris to know some of the periodical 
passengers. These railway affairs are becoming scientific, 
nom d'un chien! The valuables and money are of course 
left as a blind.' 

' A case of purely theoretical suspicion, then ?' 

' No, because we have the weapon used.' 

' Found on the prisoner ?' 

' No. If we had found the weapon in his possession we' 
might have entertained grave doubts as to his guilt. As- 
suming that the crime was committed after the last stop- 
page, viz., Creil, we ordered the line to be searched along 
both sides. The regular guard, being familiar with the 
country, would in all likelihood select a favourable spot for 
ridding himself of the compromising weapon. We therefore 
had the search conducted more particularly among the trees 
which border the line so densely on this and the other side 
of Chantilly.' 

' And the weapon has been found already ? Quick work 1 
Bull why connect it specially with the guard of the train ?' 

' We, therefore, in this manner reconstruct the crime : 
The French guard has passed along the footboard of th& 
entire train once or twice in the earlier portion of the 


journey to examine the tickets. That forms part of his 
duty, but nothing exists to hinder him from passing back- 
wards and forwards as often and as deliberately as he 
chooses. Very well. In the night he is quite invisible for 
the passengers, but he can plainly see, from his post outside, 
the whole of the interior of every compartment which may 
not have every one of its blinds closely drawn down. The 
guard notices this passenger alone in the compartment. 
The passenger is asleep, or has his eyes closed. Bon! The 
guard has the right of asking for the traveller's ticket again, 
and this right not only accounts for his re-appearance at the 
window while the train is running at full speed, but excuses 
his entry into the carriage itself, if the traveller should sud- 
denly discover him. Nom d'une pipe ! — what happens ? 
He shoots him at his ease, and picks his pockets with cele- 
rity but discrimination.' 

' I don't think,' objected Toppin, ' that with premedi- 
tation such as that a man would choose a firearm for the 

' Sure, and clean !' said Monsieur Hy impatiently. 

' And the report ?' 

' Covered by the din and rattle of the train. And then 
the guard, who knows the line, knows where the rail- 
way bridges cross it ; and at those points the noise 

' And what is your explanation of the scrap of folded 
paper found on the floor— the paper with the address on it : 
Adelaide, care of a London post-office ?' 

' Pulled out of the breast-pocket hurriedly, with what- 
ever else was taken from it — pulled out unperceived, and 

Byde's explanation exactly, remembered Toppin. But 
Byde had the best of reasons for his opinion ; he believed 
that the breast-pocket had been supposed by the thief to 
contain the Wilmot diamonds. How would the didactic 
Hy, who must be ignorant of the Wilmot case, explain the 
rifling of the inner-pocket, whilst everything else had appar- 
ently been left untouched ? He put the question. 

Why, said Monsieur Hy, it was simplicity itself. Either 
the guard had some especial knowledge of this periodical 
voyager by the Northern Eailway. in which event they need 
look no farther ; or the guard acted upon the general pro- 


position that most travellers carry their most valuable pro- 
perty in places concealed from common observation. What 
did they perceive in the present case ? A coat and waist- 
coat unbuttoned. A pocket in the lining of the waistcoat. 
To shorten the explorations of an experienced thief, nothing 
could have been better designed than this capacious pocket 
in the waistcoat-lining. The first thing he looked for, natur- 
ally ! The stolen property consisted either of bank-notes or 
precious stones, Monsieur Hy concluded ; and the amount 
must have been considerable for all those good rings to have 
been left upon the fingers. 

' Yes, but how do you connect this firearm with the guard 
of the train ?' demanded Toppin aggressively. 

' Because it was not found along the line between Creil 
and Paris, but elsewhere. The search along the line is still 
going on, as a matter of routine. But ' 

There was a knock at the door. Monsieur Hy interrupted 
his exposition to growl ' Entrez /' which, not being heard, 
he had to repeat, and which he did more loudly repeat, 
appending a sonorous epithet. A subordinate officer entered 
and saluted. 

' But in the first place we can go back a long way 

in the guard's antecedents, and they are bad. — What is it, 
Duval 7 

The new-comer advanced three steps, handed a note to 
his superior, saluted, and fell back three steps again. 

' And, in the second place, the revolver, recently dis- 
charged, was found hidden away in the prisoner's dwelling. 
Then comes the question ' 

Monsieur Hy had broken the seal of the envelope, and 
was perusing the missive. 

' Then comes the question, in the third place, whether 
■ but you can read this for yourself.' 

He folded down the upper part of the communication, 
and passed the note across the desk. Toppin glanced at 
the passage indicated. The style was that of a succinct 
report. He read it through twice, and with a sigh passed 
it back to Monsieur Hy. He had there read that the bullet 
which caused the death of the Englishman lying at the 
Morgue had been found to correspond exactly with the 
chambers of the firearm hidden on the premises of the man 
unw in custody — the French guard of the train. 



The telegram to which Monsieur Hy had referred in his 
conversation with Toppin was, as a matter of fact, a mes- 
sage to Inspector Byde from the Criminal Investigation 
Department, Scotland Yard. It apprised the inspector of 
an important proceeding on the part of the Mr. Sinclair who 
was arrested at Dover. Sinclair had affirmed and re-affirmed 
his innocence, had demanded that writing materials should 
be furnished to him without delay, and had then curtly 
refused altogether to reply. He had no explanations to 
make, he had said ; he had already reiterated the declara- 
tion of his innocence ; and he ' should not stoop to make 
any further responses.' He had immediately availed him- 
self of the writing materials, however, remarking that he 
wished particularly to catch the next mail from Dover to 
the Continent. The letter which he had handed over to 
the local authorities for transmission by the post bore a 
Paris address. It had been duly forwarded, and in the 
ordinary course of things should have been delivered in 
Paris the same evening. The direction was to the Avenue 
Marceau, No. 95, Aux Soins de Madame Bertram. The 
recipient was a Miss Knollys. Would the inspector see to 
this ? concluded the telegram. 

Thus it happened that not long after the departure of 
Detective Toppin from the Avenue Marceau, Mr. Inspector 
Byde presented himself at the residence of Mrs. Bertram, 
No. 95. Madame Bertram was not at home, answered the 
concierge — at least she believed not. Monsieur could ascer- 
tain for himself, if he chose to take the trouble to mount 
two flights of stairs. The suite tenanted by Madame 
Bertram was ' on the second.' There was a lift ; monsieur 
knew how to manage it without doubt? Mdlle. Knollys? 
oh, yes — a young English lady visiting Madame Bertram— 
recently arrived from London. Mdlle. Knollys was not at 
home either, believed the concierge. She had been taken 
with an indisposition on the previous evening, and would 
not be at home to anybody. 

The inspector had arranged his programme before leaving 
the hotel, and this answer, which he had extracted from the 
portress by the disbursement of a five-franc piece, placed 



him in readiness for his reception ' on the second,' at the 
private apartments of Madame Bertram. 

' I should recommend you to make quite sure that Mdlle. 
Knollys is not at home at this moment,' said he in his panache 
French,with its three dialects. ' Take my card, and remember 
that it is Mdlle. Knollys, not Madame Bertram, -whom I 
wish to see. I am in no hurry, and can wait whilst you are 
prosecuting your inquiries in the household.' 

The footman was the free-and-easy individual who had 
been imbibing with the coachman an hour or two earlier at 
Mr. Toppin's expense. He had since then had time to don 
his morning livery, and to tone down his complexion, and 
to arch his eyebrows as a well-paid and well-nourished foot- 
man, who has served in good establishments, and entertains 
respect for his employers, ought to learn to arch them per- 
manently. He measured Mr. Byde with the disdainful 
sweep of the regard which only footmen, fashionable beau- 
ties, and illiterate millionnaires can practise to perfection. 
The look should have withered the inspector, but unfortu- 
nately for its success that gentleman habitually took no 
notice of such manifestations as the superb attitude, the 
haughty stare, the frigid manner, and the crushing retort. 
It is true that he was not at all a diffident, sensitive, or 
feeble person. Although a man of worth, he was perhaps 
but a superior sort of peremptory sergeant, a very shrewd 
policeman with the policial disregard of any weapon that 
might not be positively lethal. And nevertheless there are 
men of worth, and women, too, strange to say, whom the 
direct menace of the lethal weapon will affect less keenly 
than any footman s jeer or any courtesan's insult, the 
triumphal march of any illiterate millionnaire, or the cold 
scorn of any handsome woman who, in her lounge through 
flowery meads of life, has not yet chanced to encounter the 

Inspector Byde enclosed his card within an envelope. 
The latter would easily open, being freshly gummed, he 
observed to the domestic ; at the same time he would 
strongly advise him not to open it in the kitchen before 
delivering it to his mistress, for Miss Knollys. Measuring 
his interlocutor with another proud look, a look which a 
false Continental marquess standing on his dignity might 
have envied, the domestic vouchsafed a few contemptuous. 


syllables to the effect that the strange visitor had apparently 
mistaken his whereabouts. 

' Allans done !' interrupted the inspector, a little 'brutally. 
' Do you think I don't know the servant's hall ?' 

The astonished footman looked twice at the cut of the 
inspector's clothes. 

' It's a foreigner, Marotte,' said he to the cook when he 
reached the kitchen ; ' but where he comes from I can't 
make out. Sometimes he speaks like a Marseillais, some- 
times like a Swiss. The concierge must have told him that 
our people are at home, for he insists. What's to be done 
with this card ? Madame will be angry if I say the person 
is waiting while I take it in.' 

' You should not have allowed the person to wait. You 
had your orders, had you not ?' 

' Well, I don't know how it happened, but he had a 
manner ! Not a person of the best world, I should say ; 
but still he had a manner ■ !' 

Marotte suggested that he should refer to the English 
maid, who had returned from her walk some time ago. 
Lydia Murdoch betrayed some surprise at the sight of the 
superscription. It was impossible, however, for her to 
express any opinion, she commented. She could not say 
whom the visitor might be. Thereupon the simple process 
familiar to the servant's hall, as well as to the cabinet noir 
of certain Governments, was neatly and expeditiously per- 

It was his professional card that the inspector had en- 
closed within the envelope. The lines engraved upon it 
might have been Chaldaic writings for the eyes that now 
glanced over them, — except for the eyes of Lydia Murdoch. 
For Lydia Murdoch they were assuredly full of significance. 

' You had better convey the card to mademoiselle,' sh© 
said briefly. 

Inspector Byde waited with the utmost patience, the 
delay convincing him that the ' not at home ' was no more 
than the conveniently untrue formula of ordinary usage. If 
after this delay, he pondered, the ' not at home ' should be 
persisted in, despite the announcement of his visit in pro- 
fessional capacity, there would be not a bad ground for 
assuming, just inferentially, that the original supposition 
was being confirmed, 



The original supposition had been, had it not ? that young 
Mr. Sinclair, formerly Mr. Wilmot's private secretary, and 
suddenly dismissed a few months ago, was the actual thief 
in this matter of the diamonds, and that he had acted with 
some party, then unknown, whose office in the undertaking 
was to receive the property from him and to realize it. A 
vague suspicion had fallen upon Eemington, the circum- 
stances of whose death might possibly be held to justify 
that suspicion. But it had also been on the cards that the 
abstracted property, notwithstanding its exceptional value, 
had been despatched like a common parcel by Sinclair him- 
self, or by some confederate, unknown, to an address in 
Paris, where it would be subsequently recovered. Now, he 
had learnt through the wire that Sinclair had been searched 
at Dover, and that the property had not been found upon 
him. Putting on one side for the moment the murder of 
Mr. Eemington in the night-mail and the rifling of the 
breast-pocket — and the misdeed might, after all, have been 
fruitlessly committed — suppose that the original conjecture 
were the accurate one, and that the parcel had been for- 
warded in the simplest manner to the Miss Knollys, of 
No. 95, Avenue Marceau, to whom it had been Sinclair's 
first thought, after his arrest, to write ? Improbable — 
because the superscription upon his letter gave the police 
the clue ? Not in the least improbable ! It was important 
for him to communicate with the Avenue Marceau : was he 
not expected to arrive in Paris by the night-mail ? A 
prompt telegram from him to the Paris address would of 
course attract attention ; a letter might just possibly escape 
notice. The letter might be couched in perfectly common- 
place terms, and yet might convey to its recipient both a 
warning and instructions. Or — it need not have been 
actually to this address that the parcel was consigned ; it 
would be quite sufficient, for the theory, that the address to 
which the parcel had been consigned was known to some 
one here. But had this place the air of a receiver's pre- 
mises ? 

Judging by the apartment into which he had been ushered, 
the lady of the house must be in the enjoyment of consider- 
able opulence. The vestibule, encumbered with evergreen 
plants and the few hardy blossoms of the season, had had 
the aspect of a carpeted conservatory as he passed through. 


The lofty apartment in which he was now seated reminded 
him of an antiquary's cabinet as much as of anything else. 
Across the walls here and there hung portions of old Flanders 
tapestry, the adventures of Ixion which they had once 
depicted in tones warm and rich having since become pro- 
blematical, owing to the ravages of moths, and to the de- 
colourizations of time. A curious old cabinet, with little 
columns of lapis -lazuli, stood at one end of the room; and 
a large Venetian mirror, with a frame of quaint carving, 
formed another conspicuous ornament. The chairs were 
Louis Treize ; and half a hundred smaller articles completed 
the main effect. With dry logs blazing cheerfully on almost 
a bare hearth, it seemed a pity that the mantelpiece should 
mark the last quarter of the nineteenth century. 

From his contemplation of this interior Mr. Inspector 
Byde was roused by the reappearance of the servant who 
had first answered his summons. Mdlle. Knollys had been 
slightly indisposed since the previous evening, but would 
receive the gentleman whose card had been enclosed to her. 
The next minute Mr. Byde was shown into a luxurious 
drawing-room, and, as he entered, two ladies rose to their 
feet. Yes ! they were the ladies who had visited the 

' Miss Knollys ?' said the inspector inquiringly. 

' Any communication you may have to make to me may 
be freely made in the presence of this lady, Mrs. Bertram, 
my friend,' replied the younger of the two, in a low voice. 

' My business relates to a matter which concerns yourself 
intimately,' hazarded the inspector. ' I have received the 
fullest information from London on the subject, but have 
deemed it only proper to place myself in direct communica- 
tion with you, Miss Knollys. I am aware that I have no 
right to intrude upon you here ; I am here only by your 
courtesy. As you have been good enough to receive me, 
however, let me beg you, in your own interests, to facilitate, 
as far as you can do so, the inquiry I am engaged upon for 
Scotland Yard. My business relates to your acquaintance 
with Austin Wortley Sinclair, now " wanted" by the police 
on a charge of diamond robbery.' 

' Mr. Sinclair must be the victim of an absurd mistake !' 
exclaimed the young lady. ' The whole occurrence is incon- 
ceivable ! Mr. Sinclair is either the victim of a perfectly 


riditnalous blunder — a stupid, idiotic piece of misunderstand- 
ing, or else ,' she stopped, and twisted her handkerchief 

nervously, ' or else of heartless malice — the most cruel, 
cruel, vindictive malice !' 

She burst into tears. 

' Oh, Adela ! — my poor child !' murmured the elder lady 
moving to her side. 

Adela ? 

Mr. Inspector Byde repeated the syllables mentally two 
or three times, in the hope of lighting upon the diapason. 
The name seemed to set some chord of his memory in 
vibration, but for the moment he could not single it out. 
' Adelaide ' had been the name scrawled on the slip of paper 
found on the floor of the compartment occupied by the 
murdered man. That fact, however, had remained quite 
prominently before the inspector's mind, and it did not at 
all correspond to the faint reminiscence now abruptly evoked. 
Miss Adela Knollys — Adela — Adela? A pretty state of 
things, thought the inspector with a twinge of real alarm, if 
the very best of his professional instruments, his memory, 
should be beginning to fail him ! His countenance betrayed 
so acute an inward trouble that the lady of the house 
softened as she turned to speak to him, and her tone was 
milder than perhaps she had intended. 

' Is it absolutely necessary that you should put any 
questions to Miss Knollys ? She is not at all well, as you 
can see ; is it absolutely necessary that you should torture 
her with questions ?' 

' I shall be sorry to cause the young lady any pain, and, 
if she wishes, the conversation can be deferred. I am 
entirely at your disposal ; but — it might be better, it might 
be really better ' 

' You must call again,' said Mrs. Bertram ; • I cannot see 
the poor child persecuted in this way. At any rate, she 
shall not be persecuted in this gratuitous manner while she 
remains in my house, under my care. I don't know how 
my address came into your possession ; and I am not at all 
sure that we are acting wisely in receiving you.' 

' As you think best, madam,' returned the inspector, very 
politely, and rising from the chair to which he had been 
motioned. A pause ensued. The hostess bent over the 
figure of the young girl, who was weeping silently, and 


whispered some soothing words to her. The sincerity of 
this emotion and the charm of this feminine sympathy went 
to a soft place in the inspector's heart. He drew back a 
step or two, and then hesitated. ' When may I wait upon 
you again?' he asked in a sepulchral voice, which, to tell 
the truth, was rather unsteady, and needed his short, dry 
cough at the close. 

' Oh, let this gentleman remain !' said the young girl, 
speaking with her face averted, and with her handkerchief 
still pressed to her eyes. ' How weak of me to give way !' 

' Do you think you can bear it, dear ?' 

' Yes — oh yes ! And he will tell me of Oh, it is 

wicked of them — wicked, wicked !' 

' It must be a mistake,' said Mrs. Bertram gently. 

She glanced towards the visitor, and smiled. The inspector 
moved back to his chair, coughed again somewhat huskily, 
and sat down. 

' Tell me about Mr. Sinclair !' exclaimed the young girl 
impulsively, dropping her handkerchief, and turning to face 
the gentleman from Scotland Yard. 

' He is " wanted,'" said Mr. Byde. 

' What does that mean ?' 

* "Wanted " by the police, on the charge I told you of.' 

' Why. he wrote to us that he was in prison ! He wrote 
to us from Dover. The police arrested him at the Dover 
railway-station. Did you not know that ?' 

' Oh, really — they have found him, have they ? My in- 
formation is from London, and deals more particularly with 
the circumstances of the robbery. Ah, they have found 
him ?' The professional habit of laying traps had been too 
much for Inspector Byde, and he had yielded to it, in spite 
of his sensibility of the minute before. However, he need 
not anticipate concealment in this instance, it seemed. 
There were no wiles to be combated. 

' Found him !' both ladies had the air of indignantly re- 
peating. ' Mr. Sinclair could have had no notion whatever 
that his whereabouts were being sought for,' replied Mrs. 
Bertram ; ' he was the last man to evade search or inquiry 
— the very last !' 

' Yes, indeed !' concurred Miss Knollys warmly. 

' We received a letter from him last night. He wrote 
from Dover to say that on his way here by the night-mail 


he had been arrested on an absurd charge of diamond rob- 
bery, and that, without wishing to alarm us, he was afraid 
from what he had been able to ascertain that appearances 
were somehow or other very strong against him, and might 
place him in an extremely serious position. If we felt quite 
free to communicate some family matters to you, Mr. 
Byde, you would at once understand the situation of great 
delicacy which an event of this kind creates for Miss 

' Dear Mrs. Bertram !' exclaimed the young girl, em- 
bracing her friend enthusiastically, ' we know that we may 
count on you, and I am ungrateful to forget how much I 
myself owe to your kind aid. But I feel that my own 
position is nothing compared to the dreadful one into which 
poor Austin has been thrown — just at this moment, too ! 
It must be very much more grave than we can imagine, for 
him to have acknowledged to us that the affair was in the 
least degree serious. Poor fellow ! what a humiliation for 
him, and what a misfortune — and just at this moment ! 
Poor Austin !' 

A tear still sparkled upon the long eye-lashes. The in- 
spector noted that the young lady began to twist her lace 
handkerchief again. He transferred his gaze to the nearest 
oil-painting on the walls, and studied with great intentness 
a blurred rainbow in the ' Passing Shower,' treated uncon- 
ventionally. When he ventured to look back, the symptoms 
had disappeared and the compressed lips were relaxing. It 
was ill taste in him, reflected the inspector, to stare at Miss 
Knollys so persistently. But as she sat there facing him, 
he did not think he could have seen in all his life a prettier 
picture than this fair-haired English girl, with her flushed 
cheeks, her frank and clear gray eyes, her dark, decided 
eyebrows, the chaste and sweet expression of her mouth. 
Trifles — trifles! — the inspectors even judgment suddenly 
reminded his indulgent sense. Well, not exactly trifles, if 
you liked, but accidents of nature, not implying merit in 
the individual, and quite unconnected with considerations 
as to complicity in an indictable offence. Mrs. Byde had 
never been half so good-looking as this young lady ; but he 
would defy you to discover a truer haart and kinder nature, 
the whole world through, than Mrs. Byde's. And then as to 
looks — ■ 


'Where's the sense, direct and moral, 
That teeth are pearl, or lips are coral ?' 

Mr. Byde, who loved to improve himself, had committed to 
memory this and other couplets out of ' The Progress of the 
Mind.' ' Come, come ! Let us get back to the Wilmot case,' 
urged Mr. Byde mentally. 

' Pray excuse me, ladies,' he resumed, ' bub my duty 
obliges me to address a direct question or two which you 
may look upon, at first sight, as unwarranted by the cir- 
cumstances of my presence here. I have to ask Miss 
Knollys, to begin with, what is the nature of her acquaint- 
ance with Mr. Sinclair ?' 

The two ladies exchanged glances. 

' Can I answer that, do you think ?' demanded Miss 
Knollys, a little timidly, of her friend. 

' I should not answer it, my dear,' was the response. ' It 
cannot possibly concern this gentleman, or this gentleman's 

' What did you understand to be the object of Mr. Sin- 
clair's journey to the Continent ?' proceeded the visitor. 

' He was coming here to enter upon an appointment as 
secretary which I had procured for him through private 
channels,' replied Mrs. Bertram. 

' And can you account for his haunting the Park Lane 
residence of Mr. Stanislas Wilmot for several nights pre- 
vious to the robbery ; for his disappearance immediately 
after the robbery ; and for his attempt to get away to the 
Continent unnoticed by the night-mail?' 

The ladies again exchanged glances, and a slight blush 
deepened the rose upon Miss Adela's cheeks. 

' I can perhaps account for Mr. Sinclair's being frequently 
in the neighbourhood of Mr. Wilmot's house,' she said, after 
some embarrassment and with the suggestion of a shy smile ; 
' but if he "disappeared," as you state, it was most likely 
before the robbery, not afterwards. I cannot imagine that 
he could have the least appearance of desiring to leave 
England unperceived ; and the train he travelled by had 
been selected, not by himself, but by me.' 

' I must now ask whether you are acquainted in any way 
with the owner of the stolen property, Mr. Stanislas 


' Mr. Wilrnot is my relative, and niy guardian,' replied 
the young lady. 

Adela ! Of course ! He found the chord now, though not the 
full diapason. The dead man, Eemington, had pronounced 
the name when relating to his fellow-passengers certain 
details in the mysterious diamond robbery at the Park Lane 
house. Eemington had told them that old Stanislas Wilmot 
lived there with his niece, Miss Adela. How was he, Byde, 
to know of any difference in the surnames ? Sergeant Bell 
had omitted to furnish him with this point either when he, 
Byde, hurriedly took up the case, or through the post since. 
Such negligence was perfectly disgusting. How could he 
make progress if the whole of the facts were not reported 
to him ? And suppose he had drifted into a blunder? It 
was ever so. You did your best, and half the time you 
were hampered by others. You were at the mercy of some 
careless or conceited subordinate, who either had not the 
faculty for picking up little points or else discriminated for 
himself very sagely amongst the details, and left out what- 
ever it might please him to consider unimportant — as if in 
their business there were any such things as unimportant 
details ! Who could say upon what ostensibly insignificant 
item an investigation might not turn! The door and the 
doorway might be in the same material ; might be more or 
less massive, and might be in contact or out of it ; but they 
were separate objects, requiring for their absolute co-rela- 
tion, you might say, the hinge ; and the hinge was nearly 
always in a different; substance, of bulk insignificant as 
compared with the two objects it connected. What might 
be the other valueless matters, he wondered, which Ser- 
geant Bell had omitted to report to him ? 

It was in this way that the best of officers might be sent 
off on wrong tacks, and possibly forfeit their reputations. 
Had it been his own fault in the great Temperance scandal 

that Well, well ! we should see ! And they should 

see, also, those Temperance people, who since that affair 
had never been able to let him alone in their snarling and 
canting newspaper. He knew well enough certain members 

of the flock whose goings on well, well ! time would 

show. For the present the inspector's thoughts reverted 
grimly to the case of Brother Neel. 

• Miss Knollys has usually been spoken of as the niece of 



Mr. Wilmot/ remarked the hostess. ' That is not their re- 
lationship. Nor was she a poor relation of his wife's, as he 
appears to have given out. He was a cousin of her mother's, 
and had always managed her mother's investments. Mr. 
Wilmot is a very clever man ; and her mother named him 
in her will as Adela's guardian, and left everything in his 
hands. So like her, that was !' added Mrs. Bertram, with 
a deprecating little smile to Miss Knollys, ' so like your 
poor mother, my dear. She trusted everyone, and was 
utterly thoughtless in all her own money matters. I don't 
believe she had the slightest notion as to the extent of her 
means when your father's fatal accident left her so suddenly 
a widow. Stanislas Wilmot offered his assistance — most 
generously, she said : a little too eagerly, I thought myself — 
and in the end she allowed him to dispose of everything. It 
always struck me that he had contrived the quarrel between 
your poor mother and her husband's family, although, to be 
sure, they were a disagreeable, tuft-hunting set. Her own 
brother showed the very greatest promise, but he died, as 
you know, in India, when you were a very little girl. As 
for her two elder sisters, your aunts Eglantine and Amelia, 
they have always been the most frivolous creatures in the 
world, and the last time I saw them — you will forgive me 
for saying so, my dear — I really thought that they were the 
silliest women of their age I had ever, ever met.' 

' They are certainly very helpless,' acquiesced Miss 
Knollys ; ' and I am afraid it is no more than the truth to 
add that they are rather selfish and unkind. It was hard to 
think that I could not look to them for aid in my difficult 

' So that Mr. Wilmot has been able to dispose of the 
money-matters exactly as he liked. And I always thought, 
you know, Adela, that he intended to dispose of you like- 
wise !' 

Miss Knollys made no answer. 

' Well, heaven knows what may be the condition of jour 
affairs — whether you have a farthing or a fortune !' 

' Oh, I have felt so glad, so delighted, to be away from 
him that I would have relinquished all I may be entitled to, 
if there is anything, for the mere sake of never seeing him 
again, and never hearing from him. Austin would not like 
me to accept anything either — I know he would not.' 


' That is all nonsense, dear ! You are entitled to what is 
your own, and in the spring, when you come of age, your 
guardian will have to give it up. Whether he likes it or 
not, he will be bound to make a full restitution of what 
belongs to you.' 

' But suppose he has spent it ?' asked the young girl 

' Oh, well, if he has spent it — I don't know — of course he 
cannot restore to you what he hasn't got of yours — if he 
has spent it — I don't know — of course ' 

' Prosecute him for misappropriation of trust funds,' put 
in the inspector, deeply interested. 

' Yes, evidently that would be the proper course to 
follow,' assented Mrs. Bertram ; ' you would prosecute him 
for misappropriation of trust funds. Take proceedings 
against him. He deserves it !' 

' Oh no ! — oh no ! Let him rest, if he is satisfied with 
his dishonesty. There may be nothing after all, and if he 
says there is nothing, let us drop the matter and never 
mention his name again. I am too thankful to have escaped 
- — for I call it an escape. But we are wearying Mr. Byde 
with all this ?' 

' On the contrary,' protested that gentleman, ' these 
matters are all pertinent to the inquiry. Allow me to 
demonstrate. Suppose that A. B., trustee of the estate of 
C. D., a minor, has misapplied the moneys of the said C. D. 
You follow me ?' 

' Oh, quite !' said Mrs. Bertram, frowning with her 
mental effort to pursue the abstract relations of A. B. and 
C. D.— < Perfectly !' 

' And suppose that A. B., on the approach of C. D.'s 
majority, fears that, on C. D.'s behalf, it may be demanded 
of him to render an account of C. D.'s estate, and that in 
anticipation he pretends to make exceptional, honest, but 
unfortunate, investments of certain of the moneys. You 
follow me ?' 

' Entirely,' said Mrs. Bertram. 

'And suppose that A. B., speculating in precious stones, 
makes a plunge on diamonds, in the ostensible interests of 
G. D.'s estate, to the extent of £20,000. Suppose these 
diamonds, purchased for the estate of C. D., are abstracted 
from his custody and never traced. C. D. may subsequently 


render the position of A. B. somewhat unpleasant, if so 
minded; but A. B. maybe judged to have acted in good 
faith, and C. D. may for various reasons let the matter 
drop. Now, then, we have only to suppose that A. B. 
never did lay out the moneys of C. D. in diamonds to the 

extent of £20,000, and it would result 1 beg pardon, but 

— you follow me ?' 

' Quite well,' said Mrs. Bertram. 

' It would result — that the diamonds never were stolen 
at all. If we suppose A. B. to be Stanislas Wilmot, Esq., 
and C. D. to be Miss Adela Knollys, his ward, we then 
arrive at the conclusion that the Wilmot (Park Lane) case, 
with regard to which I have ventured to present myself, 
ladies, and upon which I have been specially commissioned 
from Scotland Yard, is neither more nor less than — non- 

' Then you will tell them to set free Mr. Sinclair at 
once ?' demanded the younger lady, with great prompti- 

' There might be a case for letting him out on bail,' re- 
plied the inspector ; ' his own and other recognisances, to 
a substantial amount. But I can't say what they may 
have gathered, in the way of corroborative testimony, at the 
other end.' 

'Oh, how unjust the law is!' exclaimed Miss Knollys. 
' I would not be a lawyer for anything, if I were a man !' 

' Well, you see ' began the inspector. 

'Unjust and stupid, the law is !' reiterated Miss Knollys, 
her colour heightening again. 

' Why should Mr. Sinclair have been indicated to the 
police ? We were bound to take notice of the information 
laid with us.' 

' And who laid the information ?' inquired Mrs. Bertram. 

' Stanislas Wilmot, Esq.,' replied the visitor. 

' Just as I thought !' exclaimed Miss Knollys to the elder 
lady. ' Did I not tell you so ? Malice — wicked, vindictive, 
designing malice !' 

' May I question you as to the occasion of Mr. Sinclair's 
departure from the employment of your guardian three 
months ago?' asked Mr. Byde. 

Miss Knollys consulted her friend with a regard. The 
hostess answered with an expression which seemed to 


convey — ' Well, do as you like, my dear, but I should nob 
tell this strange man all my personal affairs.' The signals, 
believed to be imperceptible, continued. 

Divining, as men of the world usually do divine, the code 
in that feminine telegraphy by which the fair operators 
fondly imagine they conceal their interchange of impressions 
from the other sex, Mr. Byde went on to say that the 
position of Austin Wortley Sinclair ' might be injuriously 
affected by circumstances attendant upon his dismissal a 
few months before.' If he had been suspected of mal- 
practices, for instance, or detected in suspicious company : 
indeed, worse than that might have happened. 

' You see,' pursued Mr. Byde, ' the case for Mr. Wilmot 
is that the property was abstracted from his strong room 
during the night, and that the locks must have been opened 
with duplicate keys. His keys had not been out of his 
possession for some time previously, and certainly not while 
this property was lying in the strong room of the Park Lane 
residence ; but he did once mislay them while Mr. Sinclair 
was in his employment as private secretary Now, if Mr. 
Sinclair is accused of taking away certain keys in order to 
have patterns made of them, that will form an awkward 
accusation to rebut. When we know why he quitted Mr. 
Sinclair's employment ' 

' He went away because of unwarrantable freedom on the 
part of Mr. Wilmot,' interrupted the young girl haughtily. 
' Oh, you shall hear the story !' 


' On second thoughts, no, not the entire edifying story ; 
but you shall learn what you wish to know. Mr. Sinclair 
was taunted by my guardian with endeavouring to involve 
me in an engagement to him, for the purpose of obtaining 
the control of my fortune — an imaginary fortune, he added, 
in his gracious manner. In the same breath he said he 
should dismiss him at once ; but that was of course need- 
less, for Mr. Sinclair would not have remained another 
moment in his house. The entire rupture did not occupy 
more than a few minutes. Mr. Sinclair had no opportunity 
of communicating with me, and from that day I became, 
without guessing it, almost Mr. Wilmot's prisoner. Mr. 
Sinclair would not descend to anything clandestine, and the 
letters which it seems he sent through the post to rue were. 


intercepted. His sudden departure was misrepresented, 
and I was condemned to listen to calumny upon calumny. 
Mr. "Wilmot had other views for me, I understood later — 
other views !' She blushed once more — partly with anger, 

' You eventually met Mr. Sinclair again?' 

' Mr. Sinclair guessed she reason of my silence, and at 
length made a call at our house. He timed his visit ex- 
pressly for an hour when my guardian was usually at home. 
Mr. "Wilmot refused to receive him, and forbade me to enter 
into any communication with him. Any such prohibition 
being tyrannical nonsense, I declined utterly to observe it. 
It has been due to myself that Aiistin Wortley Sinclair, as 
you think fit to speak of him, thenceforward occasionally 
" haunted " the Park Lane residence of Mr. Stanislas 
Wilmot — poor fellow ! The concealment we were obliged 
to observe formed an additional humiliation for him. He 
had been already insulted ; he was in poverty and without 
prospects for the time ; and if I had not assured him I 
should never change, I think he would have gone away for 
ever. What gave him courage, however, was the state- 
ment by my guardian that I was absolutely penniless.' 

Mr. Byde stared at the young lady with a surprise 1 that 
was largely mingled with admiration. 

' And it is owing to you, dear, dear Mrs. Bertram,' con- 
tinued the young lady, with a grateful outburst ' that we 
should have been extricated from our embarrassments, if 
this horrible affair had not occurred. Austin will be set at 
liberty very soon — that is one consolation — but think how 
he will feel the stigma !' 

' Mr. Sinclair's appointment here ' — asked the visitor — - 
' will he lose it through this case, in the event of his inno- 
cence being proved ?' 

' His prospects shall not suffer,' replied Mrs. Bertram 
drily ; ' I have sufficient influence to ensure that. Are 
there any further questions you would wish to ask ?' 

' One — does Miss Knollys identify the man whose corpse 
lies at the Morgue ?' 

It was the young lady's turn to exhibit surprise. 

' Yes,' she answered slowly, with a slight tremor ; ' I 
recognise the dead man, It is Mr. Remington, one of the 
business people employed by my guardian,. You saw U3i 


perhaps, at the Morgue yesterday afternoon ? We had read 
the news of that murder in the night-mail from London, 
and in the absence of any message up to that moment from 
Mr. Sinclair, whom we had expected by the same train, I 
feared that the victim might be he. Mr. Eemington made 
periodical journeys to Paris for the purposes of his business, 
and had occasionally brought us a trifling souvenir. He 
was well acquainted with the arrangements of our house, 
and might have been of the greatest usefulness to Mr. 
Sinclair just now. It was very shocking to find that the 
victim was the Mr. Eemington whom we were accustomed 
to see so often at home. Poor Mr. Eemington ! — to die in 
that manner — murdered !' 

' I preferred that Miss Knollys, residing in my house,' 
observed Mrs. Bertram, ' should leave others to formally 
declare the identity of this unfortunate man. No doubt, in 
a day or two, all that will have been settled.' 

Mr. Inspector Byde rose to depart. ' Another word, if I 
may be permitted,' he said ; ' Miss Knollys expressed the 
conviction that Mr. Sinclair's sudden disappearance from the 
vicinity of the Park Lane house must have been prior to the 
robbery if there was a robbery, not afterwards. That 
might lead up to a good alibi. Was the opinion based upon 
any fact within her own cognisance ?' 

' It was based upon this fact,' replied Mrs. Bertram, 
' that she herself disappeared from Mr. Wilmot's house prior 
to the date of the alleged robbery. There was no other 
attraction for Mr. Sinclair in the Park Lane establishment. 
Miss Knollys had found that any longer residence with her 
guardian would be unbearable, and I have been happy to 
place my own house at her disposition for any length of 
time. We desire particularly that her whereabouts may not 
be known to Mr. Wilmot for the present. He was well 
aware that Mr. Sinclair was proceeding to some Continental 
appointment, and, when he found that his ward had escaped 
from him, may have conjectured that she had intended to join 
him abroad. There are ridiculous provisions in her poor, 
weak mother's last will which place him in a position of 
quite arbitrary control, so long as his ward remains a minor 
— that is to say, unless she chooses to abandon the greater 
part of whatever may be her fortune. Now, I insist upon 
ner sacrificing nothing. Who would benefit by it, to begin 


with? Stanislas Wilmot, who most probably had the will 
drawn up. I feel persuaded that the property left by her 
mother was very considerable. I dare say Mr. Stanislas 
Wilmot had his own private reasons for causing the 
apprehension, and, if possible, for securing the imprisonment 
of his ward's/ia?zc^ ; for he must have discovered or suspected 
that they were affianced. But my solicitor shall take charge 
of Miss Knollys's interests.' 

'This Mr. Wilmot seems to be quite the "wicked uncle,'" 
observed Mr. Byde facetiously, as he dandled his hat 
preparatory to taking his leave. ' We shall have to ask him 
for an exact description of the diamonds, and for some 
particulars as to their purchase ; the name of the firm, 
whether British or foreign, from which they passed into his 
hands. With stones of great value, such as these, every 
precaution must have been taken in the trade. Perhaps 
there was a diamond robbery, perhaps not. But before we 
could convict any man upon a circumstantial case, we should 
want strong evidence about the identity of the stones. I 
will wire the Yard to look the point up without delay.' 

' Mr. Wilmot is a very clever man,' repeated the hostess, 
re-conducting her visitor. 

' He is well known in the City,' said Miss Knollys, with 
some awe. 

' He goes behind the scenes,' added the hostess. 

' He knows Lord Alfred Edgbaston very well, and Majoi- 
Chase, the equerry-in-waiting,' remarked Miss Knollys. 
' They go to Bichmond together, and sometimes Princw 
Egbert Budolph goes with them, incognito.' 

' To look at the sunset from the hill, no doubt !' com- 
mented Mrs. Bertram sarcastically. 

' Yes, you get a beautiful view of the sunset from the hill,' 
observed the young girl. ' But I thought that no one went 
to Bichmond, now ; and yet they go constantly ! Lord 
Henry Exbore, who is aiother of Mr. Wilmot's friends, and 
owes him a great deal oi money, goes there too, sometimes 
— to study the industrial English-American excursionists, lie 
told me one evening, when he dined at our house. What a 
charming view you get of the sunset from the hill, do you 
not, Mr. Byde ?' She spoke quite cheerfully now, and beamed 
.upon the inspector with gratitude : a sentiment which a 
satirist has not ill-defined. 



' A very nice view,' said the inspector, with his coun- 
tenance curiously puckered. Had he not come across old 
Exbore there himself — old Exbore with his dyed moustache 
and vinous mirth — studying the industrial English- American 
excursionists with one eye, and with the other (his lordship 
squinted) contemplating in mute ecstasy the gorgeous 
sunset ? Did he not remember what the manageress of the 
Purple Peacock (a fine woman) told him as to that 
Hexbore lot as come down of a week day and bribed the 
waiters to inform them Yankees, quite accidental-like, as 
how their lordships was present, and which they was ? The 
manageress didn't half like to have their lordships using her 
house ; it got her a bad name. She objected to see her 
well-trimmed gardens and her spacious dining-hall turned 
into a sort of show-ground for broken-down swells who ran 
up long accounts. If that old Edgbaston and that young 
Claude Beechamtre broke any more chairs she should call in 
the police, the manageress had said. Let them go some- 
where else and fish with their titles for these wealthy 
Transatlantic prowlers — the artless widow and the ' hartful 
young American miss.' The last time the inspector had 
seen old Exbore at his Eichmond post his lordship was 
entertaining a sporting journalist, a circus clown (at that 
time out of an engagement), and a pugilist who had just 
won a fight at catch-weight for £100 a side. His lordship's 
other guests seemed very charming girls, with a great flow 
of spirits when the waiters were out of the room. Two or 
three of them, who had been gaily singing snatches of their 
choruses in the new burlesque, had unfortunately to leave 
for the theatre at an early hour. As they passed him on 
their way downstairs the inspector had seen their sweet and 
carmined lips curled with disparagement of their entertainer ; 
and the language in which they summed up his lordship's 
peculiarities, both moral and physical, included the oppro- 
brious epithets which, known in the highest as well as the 
lowest society, and not always whispered, have never yet — 
the gods be praised ! — infected the vocabulary of printers or 
their devils, and are uniformly conveyed to the sagacious 

reader, therefore, by the symbol ' .' Lord Henry 

Exbore had received his rents that week, and was merry. 
He had once been discovered by the inspector in an 


inavowable sphere, and had since then cultivated the 
inspector's friendship anxiously. On the last occasion of 
their meeting Lord Henry had called to the inspector from 
the balcony of the Purple Peacock, to insist upon his 
joining the party. He had then privately announced to 
Mr. Byde his approaching union with a colossal New York 
fortune — grains, and cotton — of Seven-Hundred-and-Ninety- 
First Avenue ; the lovely Miss Virginia Wattle, presented at 
Court in the previous month. When the inspector sat down 
with his fellow-guests, to a nip of chartreuse and a grand 
cigar, their noble entertainer had assured the beauteous 
vision in white muslin skirts and black, tight-fitting velvet 
bodice, who occupied the place next to his own, that, 
bewitching as she had showed herself in the Christmas panto- 
mime, and deeply as he should always adore her, he 
respected the new-comer far more highly, and to oblige him 
would go farther out of his way. ' I don't believe you, that 
I don't !' had playfully responded the vision, tapping his 
lordship's wrinkled knuckles with her fan, and ogling the 
circus artiste. The inspector believed his lordship, though ! 
As he was now being slowly escorted by Mrs. Bertram and 
Miss Knollys, the whole scene flashed vividly through his 
mind. And what good features that young circus clown 
had, he remembered ; and what an athletic young fellow he 
was ; and how cleverly he performed in the arena with his 
educated pig ! 

If fellows like Exbore, and Edgbaston, and Chase — 
' Euchre ' Chase, as he was called in Jermyn Street — were 
Wilmot's associates, the inspector fancied he could class him 
easily. The description of the missing valuables would have 
to be exact, indeed ; and there must be full particulars 
provided as to the circumstances of their purchase. 

' We shall be very glad to see you whenever you like to 
call,' said the hostess. 

' You will do your best, will you not ?' added the younger 
lady, with an imploring voice and an appealing smile. ' Do 
your very best, Mr. Byde ! Our happiness depends 

upon you." 

The visitor gone, Mrs. Bertram chid her companion for 
the indifference she had displayed with respect to her real 
and personal estate. ' Well,' replied the young lady, ' the 
fact is, Austin would not like me to have money. You will 



say I am credulous, perhaps — but I know him so well ! He 
would think that it humiliated him.' 

' You are a couple of children, if you talk like that,' 
pronounced the woman of the world. ' And pray why 
should you consent to occupy the position of a burden ? Do 
you think that would be dignified ? Especially when he 
would be labouring hard to keep up appearances, and to 
make both ends meet !' 

' That is true,' answered Miss Knollys pensively, after a 
pause. ' It would not be fair that I should bring him nothing !' 

So that the inspector, on the whole not discontented with 
the outcome of his visit, was departing from the Avenue 
Marceau without having once perceived the lady's-maid, 
Lydia Murdoch. Had he encountered that imperial creature, 
had his regard touched for but a second the pale face and the 
wondrous eyes which had arrested, not invited, the gallant 
advances of the not ordinarily repressible Toppin, the 
inspector must assuredly have recognised Miss Murdoch. 
It was Inspector Byde who had reported upon the stranger 
aspects of the great scandal in Mayf air ; the ' scandal in high 
life ' which had ended so disastrously for a valetudinarian 
hidalgo. Do we not remember the sensational divorce case 
— the letters that were read — the verses that were produced, 
copied upon vellum, stamped with a coat-of-arms, and signed 
' Montmorency Vane' ? Do we not remember that the 
respondent had been a Miss Estelle Evelin Oakum, the 
' belle ' of Boston, who, to espouse the noble Spaniard, had 
thrown over the Presbyterian auctioneer that afterwards 
committed suicide ? And had not Montmorency Vane 
turned out to be Vine, alias Grainger ? The respondent in 
the Mayfair divorce case had discovered too late that her 
own maid formed the veritable attraction for the patrician 
Vane, and that, so far as she herself was concerned, ' her 
purse, not her person,' had been the object of his siege. The 
maid was Lydia Murdoch, nov? in her second place since the 
sensational divorce suit. Inspector Byde would have 
recognised her immediately ; and if he had known that she 
had left a letter at the poste restante that morning for one 
Grenville Montague Vyne, he would no doubt have been led 
to the conclusion that Miss Murdoch still kept up secret 
correspondence with one Vine, alias Grainger, hiding at the 
present time in Paris — and ' wanted.' 



Feom the Avenue Marceau the inspector bent his steps in 
the direction of Mr. Bingham's office. The card which had 
been left with him by that gentleman, when the latter 
requested the inspector to give him a call, contained the 
remarkable information that the Vicomte de Bingham, of 
the Bue des Petits Champs, No. 4 bis, was an ' Agent four 
les Assurances,' and an ' Acheteur de enhances a I'Etranger.' 
Amazing ! commented the inspector, as he again consulted 
the card. 

At the numb r indicated in the Bue des Petits Champs, he 
found that his old friend Byers, the receiver, was in 
excellent repute it; the concierge's lodge, not only as a man 
of business with extensive dealings abroad, but as an 
English noble of illustrious lineage if unfortunate career. 
What a wonderful fellow he was, old Ben Byers, mused the 
inspector — what a wonderful old boy ! It was a deuced 
suspicious circumstance that he should have referred so 
pointedly to Brother Neel. 

' Well, he has picked out a business quarter for his opera- 
tions, whatever they may be,' thought the inspector — ' and, 
by George, he's quite capable of entering into business, bond- 
fide, and of making money at it '.' On the ground-floor stood 
the show-rooms of an ostrich-feather importer, and the 
counting-house of an agent for the ' Delectable ' sewing- 
machines, extremely cheap, and made in. Germany. At the 
end of the wide passage — the door opposite the staircase — 
you perceived the entrance to the workshop of the new 
platinum piano ; whilst across the yard, around a window 
well lighted by reflectors, a bevy of young girls employed in 
Madame Truffiere's artificial-fiower factory could be seen, 
pallid and laborious, bending over the foci of irritant poisons 
which necessarily permeated the air they breathed. Upstairs, 
on the first floor, the inspector found himself confronted by 
a dentist's showcase. To the left lay the dentist's rooms. 
To the right lay the offices of ' M. de Bingham, Agent pour 
les Assurances,' etc. On the second, third, and fourth floors 
were other business premises. A cane-seated bench, much 
out of repair, and very dusty, stood against the wall. 

It was the unpretentious aspect of the Vicomte's quarters 


that impressed Inspector Byde. He would be hanged if the 
whole thing didn't look bond-fide, repeated Mr. Bingham's 
old acquaintance. ' Insurance and General Foreign Agent,' 
he read, in English on the door facing the bright silver plate 
and regal bell-rope of M. Melliflu, Dentiste Lyonnais. But 
the Vicomte formed a suspicious feature. And yet the 
commercial methods of all countries did not run upon 
identical lines. Half the routine of a business man consists 
of asking for some one thing or another, thought Mr. Byde ; 
and in a Eepublic it was quite natural that advantages 
should flow rather towards the solicitant armed with the 
symbols or the semblances of rank. 

He pushed at Mr. Bingham's office-door. It appeared to 
have been hung in such a way as to swing easily upon its 
hinges ; but it would not open. He pushed again. This 
time he heard again the faintest tremor possible of an electric 
bell — a sound which was gone before he could say he had 
seized it — a tiny vibration which, as a full-blooded man, Mr. 
Byde might have put down to a ' singing in the ears ' — a 
warning signal which at first he had not been quite sure that 
he detected. 

He waited, but the door did not open. The inspector then 
observed a square ivory button in a small recess at the side 
of Mr. Bingham's door. A neat brass plate invited callers 
to ' Turn the button, s.v.p.' The inspector twisted the 
ivory button, and quite a loud, honest, reassuring bell-like 
note at once rang out. What could it have been that there- 
upon brought a smile to the inspector's countenance? 

Mr. Bingham's office-door unlatched with an abrupt jerk. 
The visitor stepped across the threshold, but a high partition 
shut off his view of the interior. He had just entered in 
time to catch the dull bang of — apparently — a mahogany 
drawer, sharply closed. Footsteps resounded on a polished 
floor, and the pink, pear-shaped visage of grandpa, with the 
short strip of white whisker on each cheek, then appeared 
round the edge of the partition. 

' I beg pardon, sir,' said the inspector, assuming an air of 
innocent inquiry — ' the Vicomte de Bingham — might he 
happen to be about?' 

' Sir,' replied Mr. Bingham, in a corresponding vein, ' that 
good old man is not — and I regret the circumstance — at this 
present moment in the immediate neighbourhood. The 


Vicomie, sir, has been summoned by the ruler of a friendly 
Power, the admirer at a distance of his talents (not to say 
genius), and of his numerous (not to say innumerable) philan- 
thropic, solemn, and valuable (not to say invaluable) sacrifices, 
enterprises, and achievements, to resign himself to that 
which in the case of any other personage, it mattereth not 
how eminent, would constitute a dignity, favour, or recom- 
pense — to undergo, videlicet, the form and ceremonial of a 
State investiture with the most ancient Order of Merit a 
the disposal of his most gracious and alien Majesty. The 
Yicomte is an aged man — but rare, sir, most rare !' 

' I have come a long way to see the Yicomte. I'll step 
inside and wait for his return.' 

' Pray, sir, step in ! Step in, sir, and make yourself at 
home ! I am his little boy.' 

' What ! — Benjamin?' 

' The same, sir ; Benjamin, Joseph's brother, whom Jacob 
sent not with his brethren ; for he said, " Lest peradventure 
mischief befall him," — strangely resembling one who had 
been sometimes called Old Ben Byers ' 

' " Innocent Ben," gentlemen of the jury ; never convicted 
hitherto, but always guilty !' 

' " As your lordship pleases !" ' Mr. Bingham shut the 
door and affably escorted his visitor to the other side of the 

' A d d strange move this, — Benny, old boy ! What's 

the meaning of it all ?' The inspector surveyed the business 
premises of Mr. Bingham, and made clucking noises with 
his tongue. 

' " The meaning of it ?" Ha ! Scotland Yard spoke there. 
It means, grave and reverend Byde, that this is the hive of the 
bee — the honey-stored hive of the busy, busy bee ! Sit down, 
my boy ; glad to see you I Take that arm-chair ; and if 
you care for a good cigar — there's something contraband.' 
He pushed a box over the table. 

Mr. Byde sank into the seat indicated. He found that 
it placed him in the full light of the window, and with his 
back to the door. Mr. Bingham took the seat opposite. 
The table which separated them was a sort of half-bureau, 
in mahogany. On the right and left hand of Mr. Bingham, 
who appeared to have installed himself in his habitual place, 
rows of drawers extended from the level of the table down- 


■wards to the ground. ' Ah, we work hard,' proceeded the 
host. ' The insurance business is about half developed in this 
country. But we do our best to teach them. We try to 
rescue the public from the perils of their own thriftlessness. 
Within these walls we indite the flowing phrase ; within 
these walls we bid the quarterly commission a hearty 
welcome !' 


' Myself, and sleeping partner. Clerks ? Oh yes, we keep 
a staff of clerks — two ; and their desks are in that inner 
room. One, however, I have just dismissed. The rascal 
was robbing me. The other is a very gentlemanly youth — 
out just now — confided to me with a premium by his widowed 
mother, who desired to have her son instructed in English 
ways of business and in the English language. Touching — 
these maternal ambitions and this trust. Lucky the good 
lady fell into my hands ! There are scoundrels about who 
would have fleeced her without mercy ; and the premium 
came in just at a convenient moment. Pretty good premium 
— and paid down on the nail. The young man writes my 
letters for me, and helps me with the French clients. I 
have sent him off with a fire-policy, to the other side of 
Paris. He likes going out, I notice ; and I'm sure I 
haven't the least objection. He needn't come back at all, 
unless he likes. One or two more of them, with even 
bigger premiums, would not do the business any harm !' 

' Nothing in that, I suppose ?' remarked the inspector, 
nodding in the direction of a massive safe. 

' Nothing whatever,' acquiesced his host. ' Obliged to 
keep it there, though. Looks well: gives people confidence. 
Oh, we bank all our money at once ! Wouldn't do to keep 
it on the premises. Eisk too great. Lot of rogues about. 
D — — d strange thing that you can't trust your fellow- 
creatures !' 

' And so you have other little irons in the fire besides 
insurance ?' 

' Yes, yes — yes, yes ! — take a glass of malaga ?' 

The visitor objected that it was too early in the afternoon. 
While Mr. Bingham helped himself from a buffet that looked 
like a bookcase, and chatted about reviving trade, the in- 
spector took further mental notes of the spacious interior. 
His eye appraised the elegantly upholstered chairs, fauteuils, 


and couch, the pictures on the walls, the buffet — every 
article of furniture. On one of the ebony fluted columns 
rested a marble bust of the First Napoleon ; on another, a 
bronze figure of Gambetta. Some common vases on the 
mantelpiece were filled with fresh flowers ; brackets in the 
angles of the room, and a handsome itagerc, supported 
ornaments more suitable to a private residence than to 
business offices. The room had no distinctive character ; 
the large safe, however, seemed out of place in it. The 
gilt-framed mirror which rose from the black marble mantel- 
piece to the cornice reflected the wheels and pendulum of 
the clock, seen through the sheet of glass fitted into its rear. 
Likewise reflected in the mirror were a pair of goldsmith's 
scales, which had been pushed behind a small equestrian 
figure in oxidised iron. The inspector's roving eye took in 
this detail, and then transferred its scrutiny to the closed 
doors which apparently communicated with apartments 

' The London evening papers of last night had telegrams 
about this murder of an Englishman,' said Mr. Byde. ' I 
saw one this morning at the hotel. Their correspondents 
here would wire the news, I suppose ?' 

' Something of the sort,' replied his host. ' Wonderful 
thing the press ! — pioneer of progress — bulwark of freedom 
— Argus, of the Hundred Eyes — Eumour, painted with 
many tongues — wonderful thing ! Try a glass of madeira. 
No ? Marvellous institution, sir, the modern newspaper 
press ! The trumpet of the law, the sentinel of order, the 
sleuth-hound auxiliary of retributive justice !' 

' Ah, that's more in the old vein, Benjamin,' remarked 
the inspector tranquilly. ' Thought you had lost it, when 
you came to see me. Lord, how we used to love to hear 
you conducting your own case ! You ought to have done 
better things, Benjamin, with the education you've had. I 
recollect a swell witness telling us once that he was a pupil 
with you at a private college, and that you carried away all 
the prizes when you liked to try. He told us you began life 
as a master in a cathedral town grammar-school. You were 
a better criminal lawyer than a great many of the managing 
clerks, and, as we know, the managing clerks are often 
better posted in their law than the principals. You could 
always make a fine speech to the jury, cro&j-examine a 


witness, or argue on a point. And as for writing an indig- 
nant letter to the newspapers, I never did see your equal, 
Benjamin! And, what? All your early advantages have 
been wasted. I recollect that witness telling us — he was a 
J.P of his county, too ! — that you knew more Greek than 
anyone at the college, not excepting any of the masters, 
and that you could write an essay better than the ex- 

' Ha ! ha ! — Not very difficult, that — friend Byde ! The 
essays of school examiners — ha ! ha ! ha !' 

' And mathematics ! — you must have got very much 
farther on in them than my boy ! "Well, what have you 
done with it all ? A man of your abilities, Benjamin, and 
with the education you started with, might have taken to 
writing for the press — and by this time — who knows? 
— with industry, good health, sobriety, providence, and 
luck ' 

' The press !' Mr. Bingham, who was refilling his own 
glass, spilt the wine upon the table, as he stared at his 
visitor with astonishment. ' I'll tell you where — or, rather, 
what — I should be now, Byde, if I had been deluded by 
the dream which led away the only friend I ever had, and 
that was in my youth. These trifles you have just referred 
to come to my ears now with a strange sound. I studiously 
forgot them long ago. But if you speak of journalism, I'll 
tell you what I should be at this present time of day if I 
had had your own abilities as well as mine, together with 
the abilities of half a dozen schoolmasters, and the capacity 
of two Secretaries of State. I should be a broken-spirited, 
feebly struggling, despised, old palsied figure-head, grudging 
the few sous necessary every week to read in libraries and 
newsrooms the kind of books, articles, and perhaps speeches 
which at one time I wrote better myself. To read them ? 
Yes, if I could still see. It sounds well, the press. You 
and your colleagues who only come in contact with a single 
class of pressmen find that they are often cleverer than you 
are at your own business ! And when you get a glimpse of 
the higher ranks of journalism you find that the anonymous 
writer — ill-paid, unspared, used by everyone, served by no- 
body — must almost show that he could qualify for a score 
of absolutely different callings. The actor, the vocalist, the 
painter, preacher, barrister, or demagogue can be known for 


what he does. But the pressman? Society uses the 
working pressman, exhausts him, and then throws him on 
one side, without even having asked his name. The press- 
man in harness is the ladder by which others — able men as 
well as charlatans — mount upward to prosperity. How 
many self-styled statesmen and so-called orators owe their 
brilliant fortunes to the silent band of drudging journalists ! 
How many grievances are aired, how many wrongs redressed ! 
Tell me of a charitable movement which could have stood 
without the Fourth Estate, as they say. And the drudging 
pressman who has passed his days calling attention to the 
woes of others, what has he to look for in the hour of need, 
or when his health and strength shall fail ? He, who has 
found asylums for the distressed in all other sections of 
society, can confidently look in front of him to the complete 
oblivion of everyone whom he has served.' 

The inspector seemed so pleased at having stung his old 
acquaintance into this tirade, that he took a glass of wine 
with him. 

' Look at me !' proceeded Mr. Bingham bitterly ; * I may 
be compelled to pocket the offensive pleasantries of a police- 
man — oh, you needn't interrupt ! We know each other, 
Byde ; I believe you sincerely wish me well, and in return 
for the service I once rendered you, you will permit me just 
for once to speak a little plainly — I may be a dedassd, virtu- 
ally outlawed in my native country; I may have been driven 
by destitution to — what you will — in early years, and I may 
have more or less incurred suspicion since — but look at me ! 
I am in perfect health, and my own master. The poor 
friend I had, years ago, went blind at journalism. I re- 
member the receptions I met with, when I applied for some 
assistance for him, to wealthy people, some of whom had 
been made public men — ha ! ha ! public men, parofo d'hon- 
neur ! public men — by the labours of himself and of his 
colleagues. He died, poor fellow ! He died — and I con- 
sider that his blindness and his death saved my own eye- 
sight, and my own life. It was then that I made my choice 
of a career in earnest. With my gift of the gab I might 
have gone into professional philanthropy; with a little 
capital I might have made a fortune in quack medicines. I 
did better.' 

' What was it, Benjamin'?* 


' More honest, all things considered.' 

' I wonder what it could have been. We never found it 
out.' Mr. Bingham did not answer. ' Not the insurance 
agency line, I'm sure ; though it does seem a profitable line 
here, when you are a vicomte ?' 

' A worker on the press !' exclaimed Mr. Bingham, with 
a final explosion — ' I could buy a newspp^er next week — 
but not out of money earned by serving the public in that 
sort of way !' 

' I wish to goodness you'd buy that temperance rag that 
pitches into me,' returned the inspector. 

They sat looking at each other for a few moments. 

' I'm an old fool,' said Mr. Bingham, at length, com- 

' Come, come !' expostulated the inspector. ' You've 
told me nothing.' 

' You're pretty clever at the Yard, some of you,' con- 
tinued Mr. Bingham ; ' and you're one of the best yourself. 
But I tell you what it is : you don't owe more than fifty 
per cent, of your successes to cleverness on your own part. 
Half the time it's the stupidity of the other people that 
enables you to bring it off.' 

' True for you, Benny,' said the visitor. ' "When they're 
not stupid they can get away— if they only knew it. Not in 
this country, though. By the way, I didn't explain that 
they have mixed me up with this Gare du Nord case. We 
shall soon put our fingers on the two London men who 
are suspected of the murder and robbery in the night- 

He looked at his host steadily as he pronounced these 

' Aha ! A case of suspicion ?' 

Mr. Bingham did not flinch. It was not very likely that 
a man ' of his years and experience,' as he had observed 
to Vine, alias Granger, would be taken off his guard by 
sudden home-thrusts. His gaze became quite as steady as 
his visitor's. 

Inspector Byde recounted the barest circumstances of the 
primd-facie case against the two suspicious characters from 

' We shall have them,' he repeated — ' to-morrow or the 
next day. One of our men here is working with the French 


police, and I'm assured that the thing is safe for the day- 
after to-morrow. What should you think, knowing Paris ?' 

Each still met the other's regard quite steadily, and each 
wore a smile of easy unconcern. Grandpa made a show of 
turning the question over in his mind. 

' Well,' he said eventually, ' upon what you say I should 
think these men are booked. Who are they ?' 

' A man named Vine, who has a dozen aliases, and a 
"West-end pickpocket named Finch. Yes, I fancy we shall 
find them. And, from what I hear, we shall also find a man 
who met them by the train — clearly a confederate — perhaps 
the man who is hiding them away.' 

For the life of him, the speaker could not keep his eyes 
from wandering to those closed doors, which apparently com- 
municated with other apartments. That side-glance enlight- 
ened Mr. Bingham. 

' Why, what have you to do with a case of murder com- 
mitted on French soil — in the French metropolis, you may 
almost say ?' 

' To tell you the truth, Benjamin, I'm looking for valu- 
able property supposed to have been stolen in England. 
My instructions are that the murdered man was in illegal 
possession of this property ; and, as it had not been found 
upon him, the presumption is that the property was 
abstracted from his person by the murderer or murderers. 
The t,wo men I spoke of know that the Yard is after 
them. Consequently, they can do nothing in the way of 
liquidating the valuables, which, I may as well add, are 
diamonds. To get the stones upon the market, they must 
of course make use of the Paris confederate, the third man. 
Now, as one man of business to another — suppose you were 
in my place (determined to recover the property, but not at 
all obliged to trouble about the murder), and suppose the 
third man was an old friend, who had done you a good 
turn, and whom you did not wish to injure, what would you 

Tr-r-r-r-r-r ! 

Before Mr. Bingham could reply, the electric bell re- 
sounded faintly behind his chair. At the same instant foot- 
steps were heard outside. 

' A caller — and somebody strange to the premises,' ihought 
Mr. Byde, remembering his own experience. 


Whoever the caller might be, he was either in great haste 
or in a violent temper. He appeared to be shaking the door, 
as well as he was able ; he delivered a hearty kick pre- 
sently upon the lower panel. The small metallic vibration 
resounded in a spasmodic manner behind Mr. Bingham's 

' Someone in a hurry to insure his life,' said the inspector. 
' Don't keep him waiting, Benjamin !' 

Mr. Bingham reached behind him and detached the com- 

' Vous permettez ?' he demanded, rising with a very grand 
air indeed. 

' Je vous en prie,' responded the inspector graciously, not 
to be outdone. 

Mr. Bingham moved towards the partition, and dis- 
appeared on the other side of it as a fresh blow was 
delivered against the panel. The inspector heard the snap 
of the lock as the door jerked open. An exclamation in 
English met his ears, and then a smothered reply by his 
host. The door banged ; the two voices now evidently pro- 
ceeded from the outside. 

Alone in the office, Mr. Byde promptly changed his place 
for the one which had been occupied by his host. He tried 
the drawers conveniently accessible at his right hand, but 
all were locked. On his left hand, however, the top drawer 
opened at once. The inspector cast a rapid glance at the 
two closed doors which had already attracted his attention 
— at a structural recess here and there in the spacious room 
— and at a dark nook formed by the position of the dispro- 
portionately high safe. Alone ? Yes, he was alone ; but 
free from scrutiny ? 

The office-door had shut to violently. By accident ? If 
he had not heard the murmur of voices outside he might 
have imagined that the loudly closed door was an artifice 
devised for his own benefit. There were no voices to be 
distinguished at this moment. Who might not be watching 
him from the other side of that partition ? 

Suppose his wily old acquaintance had not passed over 
the threshold at all ? Suppose he had a partner with him 
on the other side of that partition, and they had a little 
plan concerted for securing his sequestration temporarily ? 
For all he knew, thought the inspector rapidly, they had 


'got it up for him.' On some pretext or other he might be 
handed over to the French police, and before he could regain 
his freedom — he, the only man whom Byers was afraid of, 
and the only man after all who could satisfactorily identify 
the two men ' wanted ' — everything would have been 
settled. Vine and Finch would be out of the country ; all 
traces of the property would have been lost ; and Byers 
would come and offer him the fullest excuses, and would 
remind him privately that what had befallen him he only 
deserved, his own intention in visiting the premises having 
been simply to entrap an old friend. 

It would be legitimate warfare, calculated Mr. Byde, and 
Benjamin was quite deep enough to resort to the manoeuvre. 
A frightful experience for him — to be told off on Continental 
duty, and to get put into gaol himself. They would never 
leave off laughing at the Yard I And that Temperance 
paper, with its headings — ' Inspector Byde Again,' or ' The 
Latest Exploit of Inspector Byde !' 

He listened, and could hear nothing but the rattle of the 
traffic in the thoroughfare below. It might be wiser, 
perhaps, to run no risks. And yet he would have given a 
good deal to be able to search these premises. 

What if he actually found the property here — the Wilmot 
diamonds reported to the Yard as having been stolen from 
Park Lane ? Old Wilmot might have come to them with a 
true story — why not ? Suppose the property were actually 
in this room, and he found it? Why, then he might be 
thrown into the hands of the French police, with a primd- 
facie case against him of having had the property secreted 
about him for an indefinite period. Eemington once identi- 
fied with the Wilmot diamond robbery, he, Byde, having 
journeyed by the night-mail, would be at once connected 
with the murder itself. Amateur detective people, and any- 
one who nourished grievances against the police, would 
immediately declare that the temptation had been too great 
for his resistance, and that he had yielded all the more 
readily because he knew that suspicion would most naturally 
descend upon the two men from London. 

Bah 1 How he ran on ! Was it in the least degree pro- 
bable, now, that he should come across the stolen property 
here? Was old Ben Byers, even if he really had the 
present custody of the diamonds, the man to leave those 


sort of things about — to leave then for a couple of minutes 
only, accessible to a fellow from Scotland Yard ? No, no ! 
Too old a soldier — Byers ! It was hardly worth while pro- 
fiting by his absence, if he really had gone out of the room. 
Oddly built, these older French houses. You could easily 
be hidden in that alcove over there. At night, a burglar or 

an assassin ! Bad light, this afternoon ! The opposite 

houses were so high that you could not even see the leaden, 
wintry clouds. 

The inspector pulled the topmost drawer wide open with 
his left hand. 

' Who knows,' said he, ' what I may light upon ? A 
spoilt envelope, an address card, an empty phial, the Soho 
post-mark, the name of Clements and Company, a revolver 
— the, revolver, perhaps, by Jove?' 

He pulled the mahogany drawer wide open, and glanced 
at the few articles it contained. It was almost too shallow 
to be used as a receptacle for revolvers. What were these 
odds and ends ? Postage stamps, sealing-wax, twine, a pair 
of scissors. A bystander who could have divined the con- 
flict just now raging in the inspector's breast might have 
pointed at him with derision. But the inspector has often 
remarked that in his business there are no such things as 
trifles. He did not touch the scissors, twine, or sealing- 
wax. He slipped the lid off a small, square, white card- 
board box, from one side of which a fringe of white cotton- 
wool peeped out. A glittering object reposed within a little 
nest of snowy cotton-wool. 

Mr. Byde unhesitatingly extracted the glittering object 
from its immaculate nest, and transferred it expeditiously to 
his own waistcoat-pocket ; an act which no doubt he knew 
as well as anybody constituted an offence against the droit 
commun of France not less than against the common law of 
Albion, his native land. That done, however, he replaced 
the square cardboard lid, and left the spotless fringe 
escaping from one side exactly as before. Noiselessly he 
closed the drawer. Now, then, had he been watched ? 

Inspector Byde marched up to the deep alcove. In its 
dark shadow, no one. He strode towards the partition, but 
was arrested by a scraping sound- — that of a key against a 
lock, evidently. It must be the Vicomte de Bingham letting 
himself in. Mr. Byde would have wished most earnestly to 


explore the communications of the other two cloors, but 
it was impossible this afternoon. A pity! For all he 

The office-door unlatched with its customary jerk. Mr. 
Bingham banged it after him, and emerged from behind that 
most conveniently-placed partition. There were no signs of 
flurry in his manner, but he seemed less genial than it was 
his wont to be. His eyes looked very bright. A frown 
lingered vaguely about his brow. 

' What is that equestrian statue I can just see at the end 
of the street?' inquired the inspector, with his hands in his 
pockets and his forehead against the window-pane. 

< Louis XIV ' 

' Who made our ancestor a vicomte?' 

' You ve been prying, I can see, my boy — you've been 
prying about ! Oh, there's no rural innocence here ! Take 
your hands out of your pockets and come away from that 
window. It won't do.' 

' Benjamin, you are ruffled.' 

' So long as I didn't leave the safe unlocked !' Mr. Bingham 
moved over to the massive safe, and tried the handle. 
' That's all right,' said he coolly ; ' I breathe again.' 

' I dare say there's valuable property, now, in that 
safe,' rejoined his visitor contemplatively — 'a good deal of 
valuable property, I shouldn't wonder — property of all 
sorts ?' 

' The petty cash, and the Be Bingham patents of nobility, 
and one or two marketable commodities which belong to 

' Ah ! Just think of it. The Be Bingham patents of 
nobility. The Yard would love to see those things. We'd 
like a copy of them, Benny, for the museum. Couldn't you 
let us have a copy of your title-deeds on vellum ?' Mr. Byde 
facetiously pronounced the word ' vealum.' 

' What has this man been prying into, I should like to 
know,' continued Mr. Bingham, substituting, with equal 
playfulness, divers uncomplimentary designations for the 
noun ' man,' as he repeated the phrase two or three times. 
He glanced over the table, and tested each of the mahogany 
drawers at his right hand, as he took his seat. ' No,' he 
observed, ' I think I left no bank-notes and no documents 
about.' The visitor pretended to be vastly entertained by 



this undisguised mistrust, and joked on the subject, as he 
still stood with his forehead against the window-pane. 

The lower of the mahogany drawers at the Vicomte's left 
hand were locked. He drew out the upper drawers care- 
lessly, turned over a few papers which one of them contained, 
and that was all. The odds and ends thrown into the top- 
most drawer barely engaged his attention at all. Had it 
escaped the old gentleman's mind that in the shallow top- 
most drawer he had placed that little square box in white 
cardboard edged with gilt ? 

' What was it you were saying just now ?' demanded 
Mr. Bingham, suddenly noticing his visitor's persistent stay 
at the window. 

' Just now ?' 

' Before we were interrupted.' 

' Don't remember.' 

' An infernal fool, that fellow, by the way ! A noisy brute 
who couldn't find the sonnette. A client. A few more clients 
of that description, and the firm would be discredited. 
Idiot ! Here, take a cigar, Byde.' 

' Thanks, no.' 

' I dare say you thought it a deuced strange way for a 
client to call in at a business office on an afternoon ?' 

' I thought he might be in a hurry to insure his life,' the 
inspector answered without turning his head. 

' D d idiotic fashion to turn up at a respectable office,' 

repeated Mr. Bingham, a growing uneasiness visible in his 
manner. ' See what it is to have a large Boyalist connec- 
tion in the provinces. Ignorant clods, half of them, who 
want their money back as soon as they've entrusted it to you 
for prompt investment in profitable foreign securities !' 

' Fools !' assented Mr. Byde. 

' Cast your eye over our circulars. That will give you 
some notion of our agency business, and the extent of it.' 

' I'll take your word for it, Benny.' Mr. Byde's forehead 
seemed positively glued to the window-pane. 

' Something interesting you down there ?' hazarded the 
Vicomte boldly. 

' Oh dear no,' replied the inspector, turning from the 
window, and repressing a yawn. ' There's nothing very 
interesting in your street, Monsieur de Bingham — except the 
people who occasionally come there, hey ?' 


• Yourself, for instance, man of modesty ?' 

' Just so — what I was thinking of.' 

The inspector had been thinking of an entirely different 
personage. It was of the excited visitor, who, though a 
client, had not been able to remember the whereabouts of 
the bell at that respectable office-door, that he had been 
thinking. And sure enough he had finished by perceiving 
from the window the face of a man who appeared to be 
awaiting someone, as he loitered at the corner — sometimes 
within the view on this side, sometimes lost to sight on the 
other — across the street. It was a face he recognised very 
positively, this time. It was Vine, alias Grainger, who was 
loitering at the corner, over the way. 

' Come,' expostulated Mr. Bingham gently, ' you don't 
expect that that will wash with me, I hope ? You were not 
thinking of any swell from Scotland Yard ; you were thrash- 
ing your brains about the swell who was here in a panic just 
now. Come — weren't you ?' 

' Benny, I was,' returned the inspector. 

' Well, have you made your mind up ?' 

' Benny, I have.' 

' Well, isn't my word as good as another man's word — 
isn't it — you suspicious old villain you ?' 

'It is, Benny, it is — quite as good as another man's.' 

' Then don't begin on old Ben Byers again. Poor old, 
worthy old, ill-treated Benjamin Byers ! He was as honest 
an old gentleman as ever paid Queen's taxes and local rates. 
And yet they wouldn't let him go on peacefully. The Yard 
were always beginning on him. They hunted him until he 
was obliged to pack up and go. Poor old unfortunate Byers ! 
They hunted him out of his native country — they drove him 
forth from his dear native land !' 

' Don't cry, Benjamin !' 

' No, Mr. Inspector, sir — I don't mean to cry. It was a 
dev'lish good thing for Benjamin, as it turned out, that they 
drove him forth. He ended his days in honour and in 
opulence : on a foreign soil, amid plenitude and at peace, he 
breathed bis last. One Bingham rose up in his place ' 

' De Bingham, Benny ' 

' Who was as like him as two peas are like. But not so 
amiable ; with more money of his own, and more money at 
his back ; and with a few things up his sleeve that might 



make it a dangerous undertaking to begin on him. A dev'lish 
ugly customer, this Bingham 1' 

' De Bingham, Benny ' 

' And I should say that the man who thought he could 
begin on him was mad. And I should further say that the 
man who tried to hunt him would meet with accidents. He 
would be — down at the first obstacle, he would — and — very 
likely break his neck !' 

' Threats, Benny ?' 

' No ; entreaties.' 

' Advice, you mean. Eisky advice. But you always were 
audacious ' — owdacious, pronounced the inspector, in his 
facetious way. ' We'll have a glass of wine together. I 
must get back to the hotel.' 

They exchanged actionable epithets with the greatest 
serenity and good humour ; and then, in a glass of that 
excellent malaga, drank to each other's eternal confusion. 

' I know my way out — don't rise !' urged the inspector 
politely, as he put on his hat and moved towards the counter 
and partition. ' I leave you to the clients.' 

' Yes, I have an hour's work here,' responded Mr. Bingham. 
He touched the communication which unlatched the office- 
door, and in another moment the visitor had gone. Inspector 
Byde walked habitually with a heavy tread, and the sound 
of his retreating footsteps could be heard from within. 

The inspector did not go downstairs, however. He 
ascended the staircase to a higher floor, and there he waited 
on the landing. 


The inspector stationed himself at an angle of the balustrade 
from which he could easily command a view of the two 
stories below A few persons passed up and down the 
staircase ; an office-door on either side of him would be 
opened and closed to allow of egress or admittance to 
some visitor or an employe ; and from time to time a junior 
clerk who, as the inspector made his appearance, was just 
finishing a cigarette upon the landing, would put his head 
out of a doorway and examine the new-comer's back with 
marked inquisitiveness. Mr. Byde could on occasion see 


all round him simultaneously — or at least could make you 
think he had that gift ; the fact has been already remarked 
elsewhere. When it suited him to do so, therefore, he 
detected the young gentleman in one of these examinations, 
and, with a half-salute to him and half a phrase, conveyed 
politely that his presence on that spot had no reference to 
the young gentleman's firm. The junior clerk, with the 
true courtesy of his nation — in flute-like tones, and with a 
gesture full of grace — invited the inspector to avail himself 
of the bench placed there gratuitously for the general 
use; and, returning amongst his colleagues, told them 
that the loutish imbecile who looked like a foreigner was 
still hanging about the palier, outside, in a suspicious 

At length Mr. Byde's patience met with its reward. The 
Vicomte de Bingham, personally, issued from the Bureau for 
the ' achat des crdances a Vitranger,' downstairs, and de- 
scended towards the street. No one had an eye upon the 
inspector at this moment. He accordingly lost no time in 
pulling a large silk scarf out of an inner coat pocket, and in 
adjusting it to form a kind of not ineffectual disguise. He 
bound his face up with the scarf, and tied the ends in a 
knot at the crown of his head. This done, he pushed his 
handkerchief inside the scarf at one side of his face, pulled 
his hat down firmly, and turned up the high collar of his 
overcoat. On his way down he necessarily repassed the 
dentist's showcase on the first floor. M. Melliflu himself 
had just shown a lacerated patient to the top of the stairs, 
and as he caught sight of the inspector's bent shoulders 
and bound-up head, that odontalgic expert — thought the 
inspector — 'looked extractions at him.' 

The stylish black Inverness cape by which it would not 
be difficult to identify the retreating form of Mr. Bingham 
proved at first undiscernible, when the inspector cautiously 
stepped out into the street. On neither hand was it to be 
seen. His view of the corner, over the way, at which he 
had perceived, restlessly pacing to and fro, Vine, alias 
Grainger, alias Sir John, was intercepted for the moment 
by the lines of vehicular traffic. The came fact, however, 
sheltered his own person from observation. Presently he 
detected the black Inverness cape hastening away from the 
Eue des Petits Champs by the street which traversed that 


thoroughfare. At Mr. Bingham's side strode the erect figure 
of Sir John. 

It didn't surprise him in the least, reflected Mr. Byde — 
no, not in the least, upon his word and honour. The very 
clever people who made so many mistakes would have 
guessed at it right off, certainly. Toppin would have 
jumped at the conclusion without the shadow of a query, 
if Toppin had but known what he, knew as to old Ben 
Byers. But, at the best of times, guesses were hazardous ; 
and they might all have gone extremely wrong upon their 
obvious guesses. Now — what had led him strongly to 
connect the personality of Benjamin with this matter? What 
had brought him down to Benjamin's office? What had 
placed within his reach that piece of ostensibly indirect 
evidence which he now carried in his waistcoat-pocket — 
what had put him actually upon the path of one of the 
suspicious characters urgently ' wanted' ? What ? Why — 
remembered the inspector, as he warily dogged the foot- 
steps of the companions in front of him — what but a process 
of pure logical induction ? 

He did his best to reconstruct his written argument of 
the previous night. As he had expressed them, the rela- 
tions of A to B and C led up inexorably, the inspector 
flattered himself, to the hypothetical functions of X and 
Y 'to find, etc' And, having applied his reasoning in a 
rigidly practical manner, having proceeded logically from A 
himself, here we were already trotting at the heels of some- 
one whom we might rationally infer to be either X or Y. 
How they cleared the mind, these formulas and symbols, 
meditated Mr. Byde. He would not deny that his colleagues 
who never used a single symbol, or any formula, could not 
have arrived at exactly the same result with a lapse of time 
precisely commensurate. But their methods were impres- 
sionist, not scientific. Any incident or fact of evidence which 
conflicted with their irrational treatment of inquiries could 
not positively be measured, and tested at once, and at once 
accepted or discarded ; no, they must be always noting, 
always keeping matters in suspension, always multiplying 
side-issues, always losing themselves in the trite assumptions 
of officialism. Half their time they spent in dangling after 
false clues. How could it be otherwise, on a procedure by 
* rule of thumb ' ? They succeeded — yes, they succeeded ! 


But they also failed. Give them something to do outside 
the common run of criminal cases ! Give them a problem 
to solve in regions of pure reason — [' regions of pure reason 
— regions of pure reason,' muttered the inspector, with great 
gusto—' one of the boy's phrases, I think ; ah, if I had had 
the education which that boy has had !'] — take them out of 
the routine where their experience of the criminal classes 
was backed up by the ' from information I received,' and 
how many successes would be scored by the majority of his 
colleagues ? Acting solely in pursuance of his impressions, 
a sharp colleague might have landed upon Vine, alias 
Grainger, through the involuntary agency of Bingham — yes, 
he would not affirm the contrary. But it would be guess- 
work, mere empirics, you might say. Could that colleague 
convince another mind, as he had convinced his own ? Ha ! 
It was not enough to feel sure that you were right ; you had 
to convince third persons that you were right. And on the 
impressionist method how could you do this ? Impressionism 
was individual. Your own impressions might be accurate ; 
but the persons who in the end were called on to decide (and 
who might incidentally pronounce upon your conduct) — they 
might be constitutionally unfitted to receive the same species 
of impressions. Whereas a scientific method cleared the 
head and shaped the judgment ; imparted confidence to the 
inquirer, and wrung acquiescence from the most unwilling 
of lookers-on ; climbing to an irrefragable conclusion through 
irrefutable steps. 

The foregoing is the inspector's language, and the reader 
will anticipate us in a smile at the ' irrefragable conclusion ' 
which is attained by climbing ' through irrefutable steps.' 
These were elegances of diction and proprieties of metaphor 
due in great part to the evening class on rhetoric at the 
institute in Camberwell. The inspector had interested 
himself in numerous branches of the institute's curriculum. 
Some of the hebdomadal classes he had followed for thirteen 
consecutive weeks ! Those who enjoy the privilege of his 
acquaintance will admit that Mr. Byde is a man of undoubted 
natural parts. At the same time it has been urged by certain 
of his private friends, among themselves, that the art of 
rhetoric, the palaeozoic period, the Aryan race, elementary 
physics, and Barbara, Celarent, Darii, Ferioque, turned up 
too often in his familiar conversation. Topics of that sort, 


have commented certain of his private friends, would be 
more suitably gone into with his son, who understands 
them. And, indeed, the inspector will sometimes talk so 
learnedly upon subjects taught, in the evening, at the insti- 
tute at the corner of the Terrace, that we should despair 
altogether of transcribing his occasional utterances. Ex- 
tremely fortunate must it be esteemed that in narrating the 
part he played in the Wilmot inquiry (Park Lane) there 
should be no necessity of toiling after him up any acclivity 
more precipitous than the rising ground of Book I. of 
' Euclid's Elements.' 

' Q.E.D.' was the inspector's rather premature comment 
as he observed Monsieur de Bingham pull up at a cafe and 
suddenly cast a searching look around and behind him. In 
the dusk it had been difficult, remaining at a safe distance 
in their rear, to keep the two figures ahead always in view. 
Mr. Byde could see, however, that their intention was to 
enter the cafe. That preliminary glance by grandpa, thought 
Mr. Byde, spoke volumes. It was that glance which had 
elicited from him the triumphant ' Q.E.D.,' although 
nothing whatever was yet proved — scientifically. In con- 
struing that glance into an avowal of clandestinity, Inspector 
Byde was plunging into rank impressionism. 

The two confederates passed into the cafe by the main 
entrance. The man who was following them might have 
approached at once, for they moved towards the quietest 
portion of the establishment without lingering an instant 
near the door. Mr. Bingham evidently knew the premises 
well. It was he who guided his companion to their places, 
and the other accompanied him without offering a word. 
The cafe had three entrances, all communicating directly 
with the street. The dispositions of the interior corre- 
sponded with the respective entrances, the area forming 
three sections, which were marked off by columns, replacing 
what had apparently been, once upon a time, party-walls. 
In short, the cafe had. the look of having been extended and 
enlarged on each of its sides. Where the columns indicated 
the boundaries, the rows of seats were ranked back to back. 
The bases of the columns formed a substantial barrier be- 
tween the rows of seats, and upon their projecting angles 
lay directories, time-tables, newspapers, and other objects 
belonging to the establishment. It would be possible for 


the persons who might be seated upon one side of the 
columns to overhear the conversation of the neighbours 
with whom they were back to back. By the simplest of 
precautions neither need continue long unaware of the 
other's vicinity ; but in the absence of any such precautions 
neither would be easily discoverable by the other. To one 
ai these rows of seats Mr. Bingham conducted his visitor. 
They sat down with their backs to the columns, and to all 
ippearances were secure from close observation. Vine, 
%lias Grainger, leant against the padded bench with a sigh 
:>f relief, qualified by a singularly unpleasant scowl. Mr. 
Bingham abruptly remarked to him that here they might 
;onverse undisturbed. 

A moment or two afterwards the inspector entered the 
safe from the farther door. The establishment was not 
ivell lighted, and a thin cloud of tobacco-smoke, which 
;eemed to penetrate to every corner, somewhat obscured 
he view. Inspector Byde ^threaded his way slowly among 
he tables, as though he were seeking out a suitable place. 
kVhen he had made his choice, he might have been dis- 
;overed reposing on the comfortable bench which stood 
)ack to back with the seats occupied by the two personages 
le had followed. Grandpa might have assured himself, 
)y rising to his feet and looking over, whether or not on the 
>ther side of the barrier there were eavesdroppers. He did 
lotdoso; he did not even turn his head. Had he devoted some 
bttention to the point, he might or might not have recognised 
inspector Byde. His companion threw a glance at the 
ieats immediately behind him, and dimly perceived a soli- 
ary form at the cafe-table on the other side of the barrier — 
he form of a man who, with his head bound up, appeared to 
>e wrapped in profound slumber. Mr. Bingham's negligence 
m the subject might have been deemed incomprehensible. 
it this moment the cafe contained few customers. It 
ras not yet the normal hour of absinthe. Their arrival 
oincided with the lull which usually precedes that dietary 

' Don't you talk to me about being compromised !' said 
It. Bingham's companion savagely. If you want your 
hare in this, you must take your risk. Where's Bat ?' 

' I'll take my risk with anyone, if there's occasion for it, 
1 a lawful way,' said Mr. Bingham, in distinct tones, 


' As for anything unlawful, I will not be in it ; and once 
more let me tell you, I will not be compromised !' 

' What is this game 1 what is it ?' demanded Sir John. 

' It's my misfortune if I'm known to you,' continued the 
other — ' and I suppose that to some extent I am at your 
mercy. But there's a limit, and I won't be compromised ! 
The position I occupy here in the commercial world is an 
honourable one, and I can't permit anyone to damage it. 
I forbade you strictly to come near my office, and I cannot 
imagine what reason you could have had for coming to me 
at all. If it happens again — mark my words ! — if you take 
a liberty like that with me again, I'll let out what I unfor- 
tunately know — I'll put the police on to you. As for what 
you say about " shares," I really don't understand you, 
John ; I should think you have been imbibing.' 

' Look here, Byers ! Whom do you think you have got 
to deal with ?' 

' Now, I brought you in here for a moment for the sake 
of being quiet. We can talk this matter over quickly here, 
and we'll talk it over once for all. It's no use making any 
disturbance about this. I told you originally that I would 
have nothing to do with it ; and I tell you so again. That's 
all I have to say ; and let this be our last meeting.' 

' Then you have — managed — to — put — your — hands — 
upon — the — property?' said Vine, alias Grainger, placing 
an emphasis upon each word, and steadily regarding his 
interlocutor. ' Then you have settled it with Mr. Bat, and 
I am to be left out — I, who, if you must be told so, put the 
Soho firm up to the whole affair ? Who would have known 
anything about the Wilmot diamonds if it hadn't been for 
my private sources of information ?' 

' That is nonsense, and you know it. What have I to do 
with Bat, or anyone else you may be mixed up with ? Come, 
let us drop this sort of conversation. Why did you come to 
my office ?' 

' Oh, indeed ! oh, indeed ! Dear me, what a virtuous old 
gentleman we are, and what nice weather we're having. 
Without my private sources of information, who could have 
put the firm on to Eemington ? Where's Bat ?' 

' The sooner we put an end to this the better. I have 
nothing to do with either your movements or his. Now, I 
haven't much time to spare, and ' 


' Just as you please,' replied Sir John, with a certain 
ferocious tranquillity ' Put an end to this at once if you 
like, so far as conversation goes. But when you go out of 
this cafe, I go too ; and where you go, I go too ; and who- 
ever meets you, meets me too. And that's what I came 
down to the office to tell you, Byers ; with this addition, 
that you may have been too clever for them at Scotland 
Yard in the past, but that the day you try on any double- 
cross business with me, your time has come !' 

' Did I hear you rightly, John ?' inquired the Vicomte de 
Bingham blandly — ' my time, did you say, has come ?' 

' That's what I said,' returned the other, in an unchanged 
tone. 'My motto has always been "no violence," but I 
shouldn't stand upon ceremony with you. Don't you try 
any double-cross business on with me ; because it's a thou- 
sand to one I get it back.' 

' John — there's a good case of suspicion against you. 
Suppose I hand you over to the French police before you 
leave the street we are in? There's a fair circumstantial 
case of murder against you, John. Not that I believe it 
for an instant ; but others might. How would you like 
that ?' 

' The wind has shifted, then, has it ? What about the 
positive opinion grandpa had, so early in the morning, 
that it was Brother Neel, whoever Brother Neel may turn 
out to have been ? It was Brother Neel who got there first, 
said grandpa ; Brother Neel who settled the deceased first, 
and who dished Clements and Company afterwards.' 

' Yes, T gave you that opinion in a disinterested way — it's 
true. But with that I washed my hands of the entire affair. 
And I tell you plainly that if you drag me into the nefarious 
scheme which you appear to have been personally involved 
in ' 

' Drop this, Byers ! There's nothing to incriminate me, 
and that you know. Besides, you haven't looked at the 
evening paper yet. They were reading it at the hotel, my 
disinterested, venerable Bingham. The French police don't 
want any clues that you can give them to the — the — . 
murderer. They have their clue. They have the French 
guard of the train ; and if they hold the murderer, they hold 
the Wilmot diamonds — come !' 

The announcement should have formed an overwhelming 


surprise for Mr. Bingham, but he did not betray more than 
the astonishment of convention. 

' The guard of the train — the French guard, now !' he 
ejaculated mildly. ' The scoundrel !' 

' Don't you think they're wrong, Grandpa Byers ?' pursued 
Vine, alias Grainger, with a diabolical sneer. ' Don't you 
think — in a quite disinterested way — that if they clapped 
their hands on Brother Neel's shoulder they would be a very 
great deal nearer the mark ?' 

' I should have really believed so, John, from what you 
confided to me — much against my will.' 

' Ah, what a victimised old gentleman is Grandpa Byers ! 
And to think that he has very likely by this time got the 
very best evidence of the murder stowed away in his " office" 
at the place just down the street — loose diamonds, that is to 
say, to the value of £20,000, the property of Stanilas Wilmot, 
of Park Lane : having induced the said Neel to part with the 
said diamonds, or a proportion of them, or having taken 
them from him without directing the said Neel's attention to 
the occurrence !— Where's Bat ?' 

' I decline to listen to your insinuations any longer. They 
are monstrous, perfectly monstrous and incoherent 1 The 
property has doubtless passed out of Neel's possession, and 
if you want to know where it is to be found, I think I could 
indicate the place to you. He called this morning at the 
premises of his Temperance League, in the Boulevard 
Haussmann. I happened to be there on general business. 
When he arrived at the offices of the society, he had a 
parcel with him. When he came away, he had apparently 
left the parcel at those offices. It might be any parcel, you 
may say. Yes; but would Neel be disposed to keep property 
of that sort, under the circumstances, at his hotel apart- 
ment ? And if not, where else could he place it ? Besides, 
I know something about the I.O.T.A. Therefore, still in 
the most disinterested manner, I would suggest that you 
should turn to the Boulevard Haussmann with as little delay 
as may be possible, John. I won't deny that I may be 
wrong, you know ; but I rather fancy that I may be right.' 
Mr. Bingham paused to note the effect of his statement, and 
then added, with a great deal of dignity — ' In any event, 
remember, please, that I wash my hands absolutely of the 


Sir John appeared to be debating inwardly whether the 
news he had just been favoured with was to be relied upon. 
Supposing the information to be accurate, however, he did not 
see what useful purpose would be served by his repairing to 
the quarter specified. Bingham's attitude in the affair had 
become altogether puzzling. It would doubtless be better, 
all things considered, to adhere to his resolve; Mr. Bingham 
should not quit his sight. They lapsed into a silence which 
Sir John was the first to break. 

' Where's Finch ?' he again demanded. 

Before replying, M. de Bingham threw a careless glanco 
at the adjacent tables. 

' We were lucky to secure this quiet corner,' said he. 

The places in front of them, and on each side, were still 
unoccupied ; and when he turned to survey the tables in 
their rear, he found that the scene in that direction also 
remained virtually unaltered. There was one change, how- 
ever that should have struck him. The man who had been 
seated on the bench just on the other side of the barrier — 
the man who had his head bound up, and seemed to have 
fallen asleep — was no longer to be seen. Mr. Bingham's 
visage had borne a set and stern expression twice or thrice 
during the debate with his companion, but it now relaxed 
into wrinkles denoting an inward satisfaction, if not strong 
symptoms towards hilarity. It has been before observed 
that merriment suited Mr. Bingham's countenance. He 
began to look quite the rubicund, genial, freehanded old 
gentleman who willingly chucks bashful fifteen under the 
chin, and distributes halfpence among the little brothers. 
The widow and the orphan might have been pardoned for 
trusting their all to Mr. Bingham (ne Byers), thus trans- 
figured. The widow, in particular, could hardly have resisted 
such a dear old gentleman, with his good-humoured face 
and twinkling eye, with his easy-going simplicity, and his 
probable tendency towards apoplectic seizure, which might 
carry him off suddenly any day. Something or other was 
amusing him, that was sure. He sustained the suspicious, 
searching regard of Vine, alias Grainger, without in the 
least departing from his air of guileless content. On the 
contrary, had Sir John himself approached him with the 
orphan's piteous tale upon his lips, you would have felt 
exceedingly disappointed if this benevolent grandpa, as- 


suredly meant by nature for a trustee, had not, in the fulness 
of his heart, administered relief unto the forlorn applicant 
out of the fulness of positively his own pocket. 

' You are putting up something, Byers,' exdaimed his 
companion, in a tone of suppressed exasperation. ' If it's 
at my expense, by , mind what you're about !' 

Sir John had a decidedly evil aspect as he uttered this 
menace. His gray eyes were half closed, and he gazed side- 
ways from under his eyebrows in a very peculiar and 'un- 
comfortable ' manner indeed. With his head bowed, he 
was pulling restlessly at his moustache and twisting its long 
ends mechanically and ceaselessly round his fingers. He 
had his lips tightly compressed, and the corners of his mouth 
curved malevolently upwards. His Eoman nose looked just 
now more than ever Eoman. 

What could there be about this man which always van- 
quished, whenever he wished to vanquish them, not merely 
the most beauteous members of the opposite sex, but those 
who had ever passed for being the wittiest and the most 
wise? What was it? He possessed neither the extreme 
ugliness nor the remarkable beauty which have been the 
most frequent causes, perhaps, of immedicable infatuations 
among the fair. Sir John was slightly over the middle 
height ; he had a manly figure ; and he had, likewise, the 
habit of conquest. So far as his features went, the cultivated 
physiognomist would have read there resolution, desperate 
recklessness, and possibly a vice or two. There were a few 
other attributes which neither Lavater himself nor the most 
orthodox of his disciples might have dreamt of predicating, in 
their summary of Sir John. He owed a great deal to his 
marvellous faculty of dissimulation. It was most likely to 
this valuable adjunct, aided by invincible assurance, and tact 
in the use of flattery, together with a freedom from the 
smallest scruple, that his prompt successes with the fair in 
general were to be ascribed. Men would occasionally divine 
him, and he knew well enough when he was divined. Only 
on the part of his own associates, however, could any such 
discovery or denunciation place him ill at ease. With all 
this, he never indulged in scoundrelism that was unnecessary. 
The widow and the orphan who addressed themselves for 
succour to Sir John would have gone both unassisted and 
unharmed away* Quite celestially interesting they might 


have been, and either — for the mere sake of argument we 
assume this case — might have exerted, Niobe-like, or unlike 
Niobe, the full force of her captivations : Ernest Vine, alias 
G rainger, would have turned from them to peruse the police 
reports of the newspapers. The parish register of St. 
Botolph, Aldgate, proves that he was born and baptized in 
the Christian faith; but he was a Christian in whom the 
worship of shekels always dominated other descriptions of 
faith and sentiment. 

' I have paid my little bill at that hotel you carefully 
lodged me in,' he resumed, ' and now I don't leave you, 
Byers. Where's Finch ?' 

' Pretty well, thank you, John ; how are you ? returned 
Mr. Bingham, still in keen enjoyment of some mental 
picture. ' I think we may now venture upon the step of 
rejoining the young gentleman. Oarqon!' 

' Via, v'la, m'sicur ?' 

' Payez-vous.' 

' When you came to the hotel for Finch,' continued Sir 
John, picking up the small black leather bag he had brought 
with him from London, ' I thought you said he was to go 
to work upon this Neel, at once, and that if the story wo 
told you about the journey was the right one, the thing was 
as safe as houses ? And now you say that Neel has got away 
from you, and left the property at some place here — the 
offices of that society — where it's most likely locked up in 
some safe. What have you been about, you and Bat ? What 
have you been doing with your time ? You let this man slip 
through your fingers, and then you come and tell me where 
he has deposited the property, as if you fancied I should run 
off to the address, and go and ask the people who live there 
to ' hand it over to me, if you please !' We've lost the 

property, and you're the man to blame. You're a old 

idiot, Byers, a idiot ! I was against your coming 

into this, from the first. I told the firm we didn't want you 
in it, but I never thought you'd actually spoil us when there 
was a chance of transacting the business. They can say 
what they like, but this was business which I and nobody 
else brought into the firm ; and I ought to have insisted upon 
having my own way. If I hadn't been straightforward and 
honourable with Clements, nobody need have known any- 


thing about it. I could have done it all myself. Why 
should I have brought the firm in ?' 

' That's a matter between you and the firm. I suppose 
that if you didn't take business to them, you couldn't expect 
them to keep you in employment ?' 

' Well, but why the should Clements bring you into 

it, and put you down for a share ? What could you do ? You 
could only do what you have done — spoil us !' The speaker, 
pale with rage, uttered another imprecation. 

' Clements brought me in because he had need of me — 
that's all. You couldn't make anything out of the transac- 
tion until you floated the property, and you couldn't float 
the property without me. Nonsense ? Could you float it ? 
Could Clements himself, or anyone else in the firm ? You 
know you couldn't. You know how long you've had to hold 
other property, and what you've had to lose on it At one 
time there was hardly a living to be made at the game for 
all of you, with the rents you have to pay, and the commis- 
sions, and the appearances you have to keep up. You 
know as well as I do that you've got a roomful of good stuff 
that you can't pass on. Clements told me himself that what 
you hold in red [gold] alone is worth a fortune : only you 
can't put it through — you daren't part with it. Scotland 
Yard would be waiting on the doorstep before you got home. 
Well, I've had enough of this. Go to the devil John — go to 
the devil !' 

' We'll all go there together,' exclaimed Sir John fiercely. 
' I'll go there for you, Byers, if you've sold me !' 

They prepared to move out of the cafe. Mr. Bingham 
found it impossible to restrain his mirth, and after shaking 
for a few moments in silence, at length chuckled audibly 
until the tears came into his eyes. 

' I declare,' said he, ' that poor old Grandpa Byers can 
give them all a good start and a beating. Are you a sprint- 
runner, John?' 

Vine, alias Grainger, had extracted a letter from one of his 
pockets, and was re-examining its contents. 

' Listen, John. Suppose that by chance this Wilmoi 
property passed very soon into the custody of Inspector 

The other folded up the sheet of note-paper he had been 
perusing, and did not immediately respond to the cue. 


' We'll pick up Finch as soon as you like,' he remarked 
Bullenly ; ' but first of all I have a visit to make to the 

Avenue Marceau, No. ' He referred again to the 

missive for the precise address — ' No. 95.' 

' Avenue Marceau, here, in Paris ?' Mr. Bingham did 
undoubtedly exhibit surprise. ' Do you know anybody 
there ?' 

' A somebody happens to be there who knows Grenville 
Montague Vyne, Esquire,' returned Vine, alias Grainger, 
holding out the envelope. It was a letter bearing the name 
he repeated, and directed to the Poste Eestante, Paris. Aa 
we were present while the superscription was being placed 
upon that identical envelope, we may acknowledge without 
any fuss or ceremony that the handwriting was Miss 
Murdoch's. ' Ah,' went on the enviable recipient of her 
note, cruelly inappreciative of his good fortune, but thawing 
before the astonishment betrayed by Mr. Bingham, ' you 
don't know everything, old Grandpa Byers ! You don't know, 
for instance, how I learnt that there would be diamonds to 
be dug out in Park Lane, and that before the firm could 
deal with the case it had been put up by the man Beming- 
ton and another. No, — you don't know that ?' 

' If I had, I'd have turned my knowledge to better account 
than you have done, my fine fellow. Why, even now, you 
can't put two and two together !' 

' Oh, well, after a little calculation I shall arrive at it,' 
replied Vine, alias Grainger, turning his half-closed gray 
eye upon Monsieur de Bingham, with an exceedingly sinister 
expression. ' We put Mr. Inspector Byde upon the proper 
track for the recovery of the Wilmot parcel, and the efforts 
of that distinguished gentleman from Scotland Yard become 
thereupon crowned with success. Then Mr. Inspector Byde 
gets hurt.' 

' I don't say that it mightn't come to that,' acquiesced the 
Vicomte airily. They had now gained the street. Summon- 
ing a cab, they told the coachman to drive them to the 
Avenue Marceau. 

The feeling which asserted itself in the bosom of the 
inspector, as he also had driven away from the caf£, was one 
qf thankfulness that, after all, the case entrusted to him did 
shape into a tangible form. 'If it hadn't been for my 



private sources of information,' had said Vine, alias Grainger, 
' who would have known anything about the Wilmot 
diamonds ?' By ' who ' he meant, of course, what member 
of the Clements combination. Consequently, this man had 
known of the actual existence and actual whereabouts of the 
missing valuables, and with regard to their abstraction must 
have been able to place convincing evidence before his 
associates. Stanislas Wilmot, the guardian of Miss Adela 
Knollys, had therefore made no false statement when he 
came to the Department with that tale of a mysterious 
robbery from his strong room in Park Lane. The Wilmot 
diamonds were not fictitious ; and they had been stolen. 
The inquiry became tangible once more. 

Without his own private sources of information, the man 
Vine had proceeded, ' who could have put the firm on to 
Eemington ?' — the deceased. That brought them back to 
the case of vague suspicion with which they had started, 
pondered the inspector. As to the situation of Mr. Sinclair, 
he would have been heartily glad to see his way clear to the 
exculpation of that young gentleman. They were charming 
ladies, Mrs. Bertram and Miss Knollys — charming, charming 
ladies, he repeated, thinking solely, however, of Miss 
Knollys. For their sakes he would be glad if Mr. Sinclair 
could establish his innocence ; and — yes, he would — he'd be 
willing to go out of his way if he could help the young man 
to that end. At the same time, the story told him by the 
ladies in the Avenue Marceau proved, for one thing, that the 
young man had been in pressing need of funds at the 
period of the robbery. To himself, Mr. Sinclairwas unknown. 
Mr. Sinclair might be a young man capable of arguing that 
as an abettor in the despoilment of this mysteriously dis- 
honest guardian, he would be merely recovering for Miss 
Knollys a portion of her withheld property. 

So much for the original theft. Now, with respect to the 
present position of the inquiry — we should see what the 
organ of the I.O.T.A. in the press would have to say ! 

In accordance with instructions, Detective Toppin was 
awaiting his chief at the latter's hotel. 

' Heard the news ?' demanded Toppin. 

' The French guard of the train?' 

' Oh, better than that ! Look here.' 

Toppin unfolded an evening newspaper, fresh from the 


printing-office. Amongst the ' Dernici es Nouvelles ' appeared 
an article headed ' The Assassination of an Englishman on 
the Northern Eailway. — A Hint for the Police.' Premising 
with a laugh that a journalistic hint to the political police 
of Paris might be counted upon to carry as much weight as 
a sworn affidavit, Toppin translated the last paragraph of 
the article in question : 

' We should imagine that the indications we have quoted 
will be generally acknowledged to be beyond dispute. 
There can be no doubt that the leaders of the extraordinary 
movement to which we have referred made Paris their 
headquarters in the early part of the year now coming to 
an end. A passage in our correspondence from Vienna on 
March 23rd touched upon this subject in significant terms, 
and uttered a public warning which no Government in 
Europe should have found it possible to pass over. Unfor- 
tunately bureaucratic indolence and scepticism once more 
prevailed. The warning of our correspondent was com- 
pletely ignored, although it had nowhere been denied that 
secret conferences of the federation had been held simul- 
taneously in all the capitals of Europe two months before. 
That the headquarters should have been transferred to 
Paris is a matter of the gravest import. We suppose that 
in a country like our own, possessing a fuller measure of 
freedom than that which can be boasted of by any other 
nation in the whole world, some abuse of our ungrudging 
hospitality must be expected. But to say so much is to 
say also that we should hold ourselves on our guard against 
the abuses of our generous hospitality which are possible. 
The revolutionaries of the world may have welded them- 
selves together, with the organization and the programme 
shadowed forth above, and may have conferred, as we 
maintain, upon this metropolis the unenviable distinction of 
selecting it as the heart and centre of their colossal system ; 
they may do this, and we and others who are not revolu- 
tionaries may remain powerless so long as none but legal 
methods are openly employed. When, however, they resort 
to means infringing the law of the land, even as slightly as 
in the few examples we have cited, we urge that the question 
becomes one for diplomatic negotiation in view of common 
action by all the Governments. And how much more neces- 



sary does this course appear when assassination begins to 
take its place amongst the methods of the vast conspiracy 
we have been the first to denounce ? The Nihilists of 
Russia ; the Native Separatists of British India ; the ad- 
vanced Socialists of Spain and Germany ; the German 
secret societies which spread like a network throughout the 
United States : all these, equally with our own Anarchist 
desperadoes, derive their inspiration henceforth from a 
common source, a single fount — the luminous orb of the 
world's intelligence, Paris. Those who are responsible for 
the preservation of order know full well that we are in- 
dulging in no exaggerations. We do not profess to teach 
them anything new, so far as we are dealing with the 
general state of affairs : but we can enlighten them as to 
one or two points which are not without a practical interest. 
The ' Maelstrom ' — for such is the portentous designation 
under which all these far-reaching agencies of trouble are 
affiliated — pursues its audacious propacjande before their 
very eyes in the metropolis. If our suggestions are followed 
out we shall perhaps be told eventually that we have 
advanced allegations impossible to substantiate — that, un- 
supported by the smallest data, we are casting odium upon 
a foolish band of fussy but harmless zealots. Vraimcnt? 
And the Englishman who has been assassinated between 
Creil and Paris? And the valuables which were not ab- 
stracted by the assassin ? And the visit made to the 
Morgue by certain individuals who were apparently known 
to one another, but affected to hold no communications one 
with another? We have indicated the Boulevard Haussmann 
to the police. We go no farther than that. It is not our busi- 
ness to denounce criminals to justice. The police must now 
search for themselves. A copy of the directory for the 
current year should amply suffice to guide them to the 
premises where important seizures of documents, plans, or 
ciphers may be operated. We happen to be in a position 
to inform our readers that a functionary of that same foolish 
band of harmless zealots formed one of the "certain indi- 
viduals " to whom we have just referred. Monsieur Hy is 
possibly unaware of the fact. But our ediles of the Muni- 
cipal Council will have to vote a great deal more money to 
the Prefecture if they are to outbid the reporters of the 
Paris press in their relations with the guardians of public 


order. Monsieur Hy, who is understood to be directing the 
present inquiry, may likewise be astonished to hear that 
the functionary in question — whose tactics appear to consist 
of placing himself en dvidence as a means of disarming 
suspicion ; he has become quite a familiar figure in the Eue 
Feydeau (Proh pudor /) — was accompanied at the Morgue 
by a stranger, also connected with the Boulevard Haussmann 
premises. We can state, for our own part, that the Foreing 
Resident, which is the principal organ of the English-speak- 
ing colonies in Paris, gives the name of the stranger in its 
column of "Arrivals and Departures." One of our ridac- 
teurs calls attention to a striking coincidence, just as we 
are going to press. We suppress the name for obvious 
reasons ; but we should like to ask the redacteur-en-chef of 
the Foreing Resident at what time he received the note 

with regard to the arrival of Monsieur in Paris. Did 

he, par hasard, travel by the night-mail from England — the 
train in which this apparently inexplicable murder was 
committed — an outrage which we persist in regarding as a 
vengeance ordered by the " Maelstrom"?' 

' That's the news !' said Toppin, laughing, when he had 
finished the article. ' What do you think of it ?' 

'As to their "Maelstrom," I won't pronounce,' replied 
the inspector thoughtfully. ' But I have my own reasons 
for looking after the gentleman they hint at, and we must 
be beforehand with them. Suppose we want to enter upon 
premises and operate a search, what authority do we require?' 

' A perquisition ; and that takes more than five minutes 
to get, I can tell you.' 

' No other way? We will assume that what is wanted 
is a particular box — not large — or a particular bundle of 
papers, recently deposited on the premises. The parcel 
might have been lodged in some place of safety.' 

' Bribe the servants, if you can wait a few hours. Bribe 
them well, and they will steal the keys— perhaps let you in 
at night, when you can have a look round for yourself. Are 
there any servants ?' 

The inspector mentioned the ' vivacious French brunette.' 
He did not doubt the potency of a fair bribe with that 
damsel, but the negotiations might require more time thai} 
he could spare, 


' Not at all,' Toppin assured him. — ' just the most rapid 
at a bargain, that sort ! Doesn't want to stay in service, 
that sort ! Wants a wardrobe better than the patronne's, 
and jewellery. I'll undertake to have the search made by 
to-morrow morniDg.' 

' Well — no,' said the inspector — ' the case is ripe enough 
now, I think. We can go straight to the point now, I 
think. Come round with me to the Eue de Compiegne, 
Hotel des Nations. That's where he has been staying, this. 
Monsieur , otherwise Brother Neel/ 


• The Mysterious Affair of the Gare du Nord — Important 
Arrest! Demandez le "Journal du Soir"!' ' Demandez 
" L'Echotier" ! — The Crime on the Northern Railway — • 
Curious Indications — A Strange Story! — " L'Echotier" 7 
Vient de paraitre !!' 

These were the cries which Inspector Byde and Detective 
Toppin encountered as they crossed the Rue Lafayette on 
their way to the Rue de Compiegne. The rival hawkers 
thrust their evening papers before the faces of the two 
colleagues, but Toppin flourished in return the journal from 
which he had translated the article printed in the Latest 
News. It was the Echotier, containing the ' indices 
curicux ' that we have just seen. 

' That important arrest — what is it ?' asked his superior 
officer — ' the French guard ?' 

' Yes,' said Toppin, ' and they'll let him out to-morrow. 
There's nothing in it. Before coming on to you, I looked 
in again on Monsieur Hy, and — oh, he's too clever, he's 
much too clever for a world like this ! — he wants to make 
out that they are letting the guard go in order to pick him 
up again next week, with an accomplice and the stolen pro- 
perty, all complete. These papers don't know that yet. 
The Journal du Soir has only got as far as the arrest, which 
I heard all about at the Prefecture this morning.' 

He then repeated for the inspector's information certain 
passages in the earlier interview with Monsieur Hy, of 
which an account has been placed before the reader. With 
regard to the second interview, during the afternoon, it was 


all very well for Monsieur Hy to play the excessively matin, 
but the fact must be, added Mr. Toppin, that the case 
against the French guard had completely broken down. It 
seemed that when he had brought the night-mail into Paris^ 
and cleared the train, this man was entitled to a day off duty. 
On the present occasion he had obtained leave of absence 
for a couple of days by arrangement with a fellow-employe, 
who was to replace him. "Well, he had celebrated his holi- 
day by a heavy drinking bout, as appeared to be his custom. 
The police had found him helplessly intoxicated in a cabaret 
near his lodging. He had been home to take off his uniform, 
and the police had discovered a revolver hidden amongst his 

' " Hidden !" ' commented the inspector. ' The worst 
species of impressionism !' 

' I beg pardon ?' queried Mr. Toppin, gaping at his 
superior officer. 

' Why can't they say they " discovered a revolver amongst 
his clothes?" That's all they're entitled to say — and see 
how it tones it down !' 

' Then the bullet fitted into tho chambers of the revolver.' 

' Ah, they're not rare, friend Toppin — coincidences like 
that. And who has decided that the bullet fits into the 
chambers of the revolver? Because I remember a case 
once — it was all circumstantial — when a bullet was reported 
to us as fitting into a particular fire-arm, and it was nobody's 
business for a few days to make the test. The bullet cer- 
tainly would go into the barrel and come out again — oh, 
there was no mistake about that ! — only the bullet was more 
than a shade too small to have been used with any weapon 
of that calibre. I remember another circumstantial case in 
which the ball had been flattened by the obstacle it had en- 
countered, and the fact had not been properly allowed for. 
Has this prisoner offered any statement ?' 

' They told me this afternoon that he professes to be able 
to account for the whole of his time — rather difficult, I 
should fancy, for the guard of a train. They have lighted 
upon nothing which points to any theft in the search they 
have carried out on this fellow's premises, etc. ; but of 
course he would have had time to get compromising objects 
out of the way. What sort of an explanation he can furnish 
I must say I don't understand : unless he means to prove 


that from Creil to Paris he was in the company of the other 
guard, or something of that kind.' 

' Instead of letting this man out to-morrow,' observed the 
inspector jocularly, ' they ought to put the other guard in 
with him. Why, they'll be apprehending us next, Toppin — 
they'll be laying their hands on you and me I' 

' Quite capable of it,' answered Toppin, with a queer 
glance at his chief. 

The tall, angular dame presiding at the bureau of the 
Hotel des Nations, Eue de Compiegne, replied to their 
inquiry for Mr. Neel that he had not yet come in. This 
was nevertheless his usual hour — in fact, a little past his 
usual hour. 

' Does he not dine here, at the table d'hote, every even- 
ing ?' asked the inspector, looking at his watch. 

' Oh, yes,' responded the angular dame, who, like all her 
compatriots in the hotel bureaus near the great termini, 
spoke English perfectly, and another language or two, per- 
haps, quite as well — ' he dine all evenings.' 

' Half -past five,' murmured the inspector, mechanically 
consulting his watch once more — ' and your table d'hote — at 
what time do you hold it ?' 

' There is two : the fierced at six-dirty, and the others at 

The speaker pointed to a framed announcement of these 
facts, and, behind the inspector's shoulder, threw killing 
regards at Toppin, who was really a fine figure of a young 
man, though inaccessible, it seemed, to the blandishments 
of maturity. 

' Half-past five,' muttered Mr. Byde, again — ' if he comes 
in after six, I can hardly manage it.' 

' Excuse me, inspector,' said his colleague in an under- 
tone, as they stood on one side — ' but I suppose that when 
you travel you are always armed ?' 

' What should you think ?' answered Mr. Byde, staring at 
the young man. 

' The usual, I suppose?' 

' And so they'd be capable of putting their hands on me, 
friend Toppin ?' 

' Well, the police here are no respecters of persons, you 
know — when they're dealing with foreigners. I thought I'd 
just mention it.' 


The inspector was about to respond, but checked himself. 
Brother Neel entered from the street. Had nothing arrived 
for him, inquired the new-comer, addressing the lady- 
president of the bureau — no telegram ? 

' No, sair, if you please, not ! mais ' 

' Mais V 

' There is come those gentlymen — there.' 

Brother Neel turned in the direction indicated, and for the 
moment did not recognise the burly middle-aged man who, 
stationed with a companion in the obscure recess of the 
dining-room side-door, appeared to be scrutinising him very 
narrowly indeed. After a slight hesitation, however, he 
recollected Mr. Smithson, and advanced, repeating : 

' Oh, my dear friend, pardon me ! — Mr. Smithson, of 
course. A thousand pardons — a thousand, thousand 
pardons. Pre-occupied, dear friend. An inconceivable 
affair ! So kind of you to call, so very kind of you to call !' 

' A minute — can you spare me a minute ?' asked the 

' Certainly, my dear friend, Mr. Smithson, certainly. 
Come upstairs, my dear friend. Have, you seen this 
abominable attack upon the " Iota "? Have you read that 
unscrupulous evening newspaper ? Can you imagine that 
such reckless firebrands, or such foolish, credulous alarmists 
could be so,' etc., etc. 

Inspector Byde and Mr. Toppin both evinced as keen an 
interest in the structural surroundings through which they 
followed Brother Neel, as in the temperance lecturer's 
cumulative denunciations of the odium wrongfully cast upon 
the I.O.T.A. Mr. Toppin's mental notes might have been 
open to the objection of being too obviously, too manifestly, 
taken down. Not a single means of egress could have 
escaped that searching eye. He glared at a bricked-up 
doorway ; tapped at a worm-eaten wainscoting ; peeped 
through the hinge of a partly-open door, upon the other side 
of which a handsome gentleman who had tied a white cravat 
to his perfect satisfaction was smiling at himself in a mirror, 
and making poses. On their way along the corridor to the 
apartment occupied by Brother Neel, they met the Anarchist 
' boots,' reluctantly bearing on his shoulders the substantial 
luggage of a bourgeois. He scowled at Toppin, as the latter, 
more sturdily built than he, and with the advantage of a 


head at least in height, swung by — a scowl so unprovoked 
and so malignant, that Toppin — who did not know of his 
Anarchist hatred for every species of superiority ; for the 
superiority of mere physique as well as for that of intellect, 
or wealth, or rank — pulled up for an instant and took a note 
of him, mentally, that ought to have proved ineradicable. 

Arrived at the extremity of the corridor, Brother Neel let 
himself into his apartment and proceeded to light the wax 
candles on the mantelpiece. 

' Won't our dear friend step in, too ?' said he, as Mr. 
Toppin loitered on the mat outside, and shuffled his feet. 
Toppin obeyed the suggestion, closed the door, and posted 
himself on the mat inside, as though he were a sentinel on 

The inspector borrowed a candlestick from his host and 
made a tour round the large room. Espying the door of 
communication to the left on entering, he demanded in a 
low tone ' what might be on the other side of it ?' 

Brother Nesl, astonished at his question and his move- 
ments, stopped in placing chairs for his guests, and replied 
in a low tone, likewise, that he was sure he could not say, 
but that no doubt it could be easily ascertained. The door 
most likely would communicate with some other hotel apart- 
ment, similar to his own. When he had taken up his 
quarters here the neighbouring apartment was unoccupied, 
but he had heard someone stirring to-day, he thought, and 
by this time he most probably had been furnished with a 
neighbour — unless, indeed, the persons moving about the 
room had been employes of the establishment. 

' We don't need to be overheard,' remarked Mr. Byde, still 
lowering his voice, ' and before we go on, I think it might be 
well to be assured upon the point.' 

The imminent smile quite died away. Brother Neel ran 
his fingers through the plastered locks of hair which he wore 
so vigorously brushed back from his forehead and behind 
his ears, and which terminated in an cily fringe at the nape 
of his neck. He ran his fingers twice through his hair in a 
somewhat nervous manner. 

' Why, this is very singular !' said ho. ' Precautions ?-— = 
Precautions against listeners ? In whose interest are they 
adopted — why adopt them ?' 

( We'll come to that,' answered the inspector, his voice 


sunk to little more than a whisper. ' Personally, I hate 
being overheard, whenever or wherever it may chance to be 
— and so does my friend here. It's a little weakness which 
we are both subject to. We only approve of listeners when 
we've reasons for particularly wishing to be overheard. At 
present there are no such reasons. You don't know my 
friend, I think ?' 

Brother Neel responded with a gesture meant no doubt to 
assure the sentinel at the door that the privilege of forming 
his acquaintance, though at the eleventh hour, was one 
which he, Brother Neel, should always prize. The smile 
did not dawn, however, nor did the eloquent lecturer of the 
I.O.T.A. find his resonant voice. Mr. Toppin returned the 
gesture with a virile dignity, sniffed, and fastened his eyes 
upon his superior officer. Mr. Byde moved a step nearer 
his host, and added : 

' Detective Toppin, of Scotland Yard.' 

' Scotland Yard !' 

The exchange of whispers, the immobility of the three 
figures, the uncertain shadows in the flickering light, lent to 
the scene a sudden dramatic impressiveness. 

' Detective Toppin, acting with myself in this inquiry. 
And my name is not Smithson. I am Inspector George 
Byde, of the V Division.' 

Brother Neel remained standing sideways at the hearth 
— his elbow on the mantelpiece, his head supported by his 
hand, and part of his features illumined with distinct- 

' Have you any questions to ask?' continued the inspector 


' Any observations to make ?' 

• No.' 

' Any statement to offer ?' 

Brother Neel paused before replying to the third query. 

' No,' he repeated, at length. 

' Then you will allow us to go on with our inquiry in your 
presence ?' 

' I have no desire to stop you in the performance of any 
duty you may have to discharge,' said the temperance lec- 
turer slowly — ' neither any desire nor any motive. I shall 
be glad to know, however, in what way I can be connected 


with investigations in Paris by gentlemen from Scotland 

' You shall know in one moment. First of all — excuse me 

' the inspector moved towards the bell-rope, and rang. 

'In one moment you shall hear.' 

They waited in silence for an answer to the summons. 
Presently footsteps were heard in the corridor, and a knock 

' Entrez /' called Brother Neel ; and Mr. Toppin opened 
the door. 

The Anarchist appeared upon the threshold, his arms 
laden with faggots for the fire. 

' This man does not understand English,' premised Brother 

' I'll interrogate him for you, guardedly, on the points you 
mentioned, if you like,' observed Toppin to his colleague ; 
adding to the Anarchist in the latter's language — •' Put those 
things down for a minute. We want to ask you a question 
or two.' 

'I am not here to answer questions,' was the sullen 
response. ' I am here to clean your boots, to carry your 
luggage, and to light your fires.' 

' Ah, you must be just the man we would prefer to talk to. 
— You are for the prochaine, are you not?' demanded Toppin 
shrewdly. ' Well, in our own country so are we !' 

' You !' muttered the man, with a sneer, as his glance wan- 
dered from Mr. Toppin to the figure at the mantelpiece. 

' Vive la prochainef Vive la revolution socialcJ' exclaimed 
Toppin. ' Will you say as much ?' 

' Viva la revolution sociale !' responded the other fiercely. 

' Among compagnons, no humbug — no standing upon cere- 
mony !' Toppin produced a small gold coin, and tendered it 
in off-hand fashion. 

' Pardon — excuse — I cannot !' The scowl began to gather 

' For the cause !' 

' For the cause !' The speaker gazed at his interlocutor 
with an expression of mingled scorn and incredulity. ' What 
species of revolutionist can you be, Compaq non self-styled ? 
The true revolutionist does not employ : he only serves — 
until the joyful coming of the prochaine /' 

' Des chansons — cles chansons ! In our country the com- 


pagnon both serves the cause and employs the bourgeoisie. 
Come — accept the obole of more fortunate comrades — it's 
your duty to the cause — the revolutionary obole !' 

' Ah ! the revolutionary obole, then ' he placed his 

burden on the floor, and took the piece of money With the 
door once more closed, and after a fresh reminder as to 
possible listeners, Inspector Byde, through his subordinate, 
put a few questions to the Anarchist which very considerably 
astonished Brother Bamber's London colleague. One or 
two of the questions were answered in the affirmative. 

' Now, then,' proceeded Mr. Byde, ' I want to engage the 
next room for to-night.' 

That would be impossible, intimated the Anarchist, sullen 
from force of habit, but won over by the batch of questions 
which had astonished Brother Bamber's colleague ; it would 
be impossible, because the English bourgeois who had arrived 
in ill-health early that morning had taken that very room, 
and was occupying it still. Was there a pampered English 
bourgeois at that present moment in the adjoining room? 
Of course, he was at that present moment in the adjoining 
room — seeing that the whole day long he had not quitted it, 
being — as his elderly accomplice in the exploitation of the 
working-man, another bourgeois ; mais un vrai type cle 
V exploitcur , celui-lcll had stated — by the physician's order 
confined to his bed — eh, qu'il creve, done ! Un faineant cle 
moins — cruel mallieur ! 

' I may have to beg your hospitality for to-night,' observed 
Mr. Byde to Brother Neel, ' unless you will favour me by 
accepting my own. We shall see.' 

' From what I understand,' was the reply, ' your business 
tallies with that monstrous invention of the evening journal? 
What — as men of the world you can believe that story for 1, 
single moment, or any story like it? The I.O.T. A. impli- 
cated in dynamite plots ! But you shall do as you think well, 
and I am at your service. There is one preliminary which 
you will be good enough to fulfil. You gentlemen are doubt- 
less what you represent yourselves to be ; but I have not 
yet seen your credentials.' 

' Dismiss that man, Toppin,' said the inspector. 
• Mr. Toppin asked for news of their Anarchist's lodge, 
'The Iron Hand,' and promised to attend one of the Sunday 
conferences. He then helped him up with the bundle of 


faggots, solemnly exchanged the salutation, and showed him 

' My colleague here is a Paris agent of the Criminal Inves- 
tigation Department,' resumed the inspector, ' and is well 
known at the Prefecture. With regard to myself, you are 
probably not unacquainted with my name, Mr. Neel.' He 
handed one of his official cards to the travelling lecturer of 
the I.O.T.A. 

' Oh, I have read about Inspector Byde,' said Brother 
Neel maliciously. ' I should have thought he would have 
been satisfied with one blunder. It was a blunder of suffi- 
cient magnitude, one might have fancied !' 

' Very well. Listen. You deposited a parcel at the offices 
of the International Organization of Total Abstainers, Boule- 
vard Haussmann, in the course of this morning ?' Brother 
Neel turned abruptly away from the flickering candles. His 
arms fell by his side. ' Did you not ?' 

' I did,' he replied, with an effort, — ' what then ?' 

' I have to request that you will enable me to examine the 
contents of that parcel.' 

' The contents ? Draft reports and returns relating to the 
business of the I.O.T.A. ; statistics, pamphlets — reprints of 
a speech by Sir Wilful Jawson in the House of Commons. 
What can there be in matters of that description, pray, to' 
concern Inspector Byde ?' 

' My request is to receive the parcel, intact, for the purpose 
of personally examining its contents.' 

Brother Neel hesitated again. His manner betrayed so' 
evident a calculation of chances that Detective Toppin made 
another hasty survey of the apartment, as if he suspected 
the existence of concealed means of escape. 

' You are an adroit member of your profession, Mr. Byde,' 
resumed their host, — ' I don't deny your adroitness But, 
believe me, you are on a mistaken course. The thing is 
absurd altogether. There is absolutely nothing of a politi- 
cal character in the parcel which you say you want to 

' There is nothing of a political character about the objects 
which I expect to find.' 

Mr. Toppin opened his eyes very widely. What on earth 
could his superior officer be driving at ? And what was the 
matter with the temperance gentleman, all at once ? 


' We are pressed for time,' added the inspector, still in 
that hushed monotone. 

' I am innocent,' whispered Brother Neel, sinking into a 

' Of what ?' asked the inspector. ' Stay where you are, 
Toppin !' 

' As you say,' returned their host firmly, raising his head 
and looking his questioner in the face: 'As you say — of 
what ? — You shall see the contents of the parcel, gentle- 

'That's right! — at once, then. We'll proceed imme- 
diately to the premises in the Boulevard Haussmann.' 

' Promise me one thing, gentlemen — promise that you 
will not place me under arrest ?' 

' That's as may be,' said the inspector — ' that will depend.' 

' I implore you to think of my position — think of the 
cause, I implore you !' 

' We shall do nothing that the circumstances may not 
warrant. We shall of course avoid subjecting you to 
unnecessary inconvenience. Be good enough to step down- 
stairs, Mr. Toppin, and send for a cab.' Mr. Toppin obeyed. 
' In the meantime,' continued Mr. Byde, ' it is my duty to 
caution you against making any statements which might be 
used against you as evidence. Any explanations, however, 
which you may desire to furnish, we are of course bound to 
listen to.' 

Brother Neel had retained his overcoat throughout the 
interview. He now crossed the room to take up his hat and 

' Never mind your walking-stick,' observed the inspector, 
who had undemonstratively placed himself between his host 

and the door, ' you may as well leave that here. And 

I don't wish to search you, but there are no weapons 

about you, I suppose ?' 

' Weapons ? Oh dear no !' 

' Button up your coat then, sir, if you please. r 

Mr. Toppin was soon heard hastening back. They 
quitted the room in silence, and in silence returned along the 
corridor and down the stairs. Mr. Toppin led the way, the 
inspector bringing up the rear. 

When they arrived at the bureau on the ground-floor, 
Brother Neel stepped aside to inquire again whether any 


missive or message had been delivered for him — whether 
there was no telegram. Nothing had been delivered for 
him, replied the lady president of the bureau snappishly. 
They had interrupted her in an operation of the toilette. 
Saffron, alas, were the once rose-fair cheeks, now wrinkled 
superciliously, and brick-red was the Grecian nose ; and 
this proud organ she had been patting and stroking in front 
of a hand-glass with the anemone of the boudoir, a white 
and fluffy growth, choked with poudre de riz. Should they 
reckon upon Monsieur Nill for dinner, she asked, launching 
at the irresistible Toppin the brightest of an ex-beauty's 
languishing regards. 

Before responding, Brother Neel glanced at Mr. Byde. 

' Tell her yes,' the latter answered ; ' at seven o'clock, your- 
self and perhaps a friend or two. If you can get back in time 
for it, Toppin and I may like to join you at the table d'hote.' 

' Demand cz le "Bulletin !"■ — The body at the Morgue!' 
' Demandcz le " Journal du Soir !" — The Drama of the Gare 
du Nord !' ' " L'Echotier !" Vient de paraltre ! — The Con- 
spirators of the Boulevard Haussmann l—Demandez "L'Echo- 
tier " !' 

At frequent points upon their route newsvendors met 
them with these cries. As their cab turned out of the Eue 
Lafayette into the Boulevard Haussmann, a man ran by the 
side of the vehicle, shouting the contents of an evening 
paper, and thrusting a folded copy of the sheet through the 
window : 

' Deux soils, "L'Echotier " — deux sous /—The New Inter- 
nationale ! — Foreign Bevolutionists in the Boulevard Hauss- 
mann ! — Deux sous, " L'Echotier " — just out ! — Lisez VEcho- 
tier — deux sous I' 

'My God!' burst forth Brother Neel, 'vhat a fearful 
affair !' 

' Tell me,' demanded the inspector, as their cab drew up 
before the offices of the I.O.T.A., in the more tranquil 
portion of the thoroughfare, some distance farther along, 
' does the gentleman whose name appears on this plate — ■ 
Mr. Bamber — does that gentleman know the precise con- 
tents of the parcel you left here ?' 

' He does not.' 

' Weigh your words before replying ; does anyone bub 
yourself know of the precise contents ?' 


Tlie other was on the point of answering, but suddenly 
stopped. A new idea seemed to strike him. 

' Why,' he exclaimed vehemently, ' your information 
must have come from Mr. Bamber 1' 

' No.' 

' No? Then I have told you all I have to say, sir !' 

' Excuse me. If we find this parcel as you left it, no 
one but yourself can have been acquainted with the 
contents ?' 

' I have nothing to add.' 

' Very well. Toppin, tell the man to wait ; we shall 
want him to take us back. Come upstairs with us. I may 
want your evidence, hereafter.' 

On reaching the third floor, where the highly-polished 
brass plate of the I.O.T.A. shone radiantly under the gas, 
Mr. Byde informed the temperance lecturer that he as well 
as Mr. Toppin would assume the role of simple spectator 
during their brief stay on these premises. There was no 
intention of discrediting Brother Neel unnecessarily. It 
would therefore be for Brother Bamber's colleague to recover 
the parcel without loss of time, to assure himself that it had 
not been tampered with, and to at once return with his 
companions. This rapidly stated, the inspector rang at the 
front door. 

To their summons came no response. The inspector rang 
again, and still there was no answer. Mr. Toppin, whom 
the proceedings of the last half-hour had somewhat be- 
wildered, began to exhibit symptoms of disquietude. A 
third time the inspector rang. 

It was the ' vivacious French brunette ' who at length 
opened the door. 

' Monsieur Bambaire ?' demanded that functionary's col- 

Yes, monsieur was at home ; in his bureau she believed. 
Would these gentlemen give themselves the trouble to step 
in and seat themselves ? Very busy, Monsieur Bambaire ! 
She hardly ventured to disturb him ; but affairs of im- 
portance, without doubt ? 

Brother Neel handed the young woman his card, in order 
that there should be no mistake. She had shot a look of 
recognition at Mr. Byde, and had commenced the smile 
which she knew called up a pair of dimples. During the 



production of the card, however, she had had time to survey 
the form and features of the bemused Toppin. It was for 
the latter's benefit, not for Mr. Byde, that she continued 
and sustained that widely arch and dimpling smile. She 
shut her chin down tightly on her chest as usual, opened 
and closed her eyes with the incessant motion which we 
know to be an unerring sign of artlessness in members of 
the dominant sex in many parts of the civilized world, and 
in mistresses as well as maids — perhaps in the mistresses 
more commonly than in their maids ; and she tripped away 
with the short and studied steps that in males we often call 
a strut, and in females dainty grace. 

' Ah, dear friends — come in ! Come in, dear friends !' 
Brother Bamber, with a pen in one hand and some sheets 
of foolscap in the other, emerged from his private office by 
the doorway communicating with the vestibule. ' Hard at 
work — you see me hard at work ! Our dear brother there 
understands what labour it involves — the maintenance and 
furtherance of an organization, with its multitudinous detail 
and its multifarious claim's. Ahem ! Pray come in, dear 
friends. A recruit, our dear young friend here ? Welcome, 
welcome !' 

Brother Bamber enveloped Mr. Toppin with his fixed, 
fraternal smile. 

To explain their errand proved the simplest of tasks for 
Brother Neel. He had found that the papers which he had 
left in his colleague s care would be indispensable to him 
that evening. These gentlemen had kindly accompanied him 
to the premises of the I.O.T.A. He regretted infinitely to 
be breaking in upon the grave preoccupations of his 
colleague, unsparing as he was of himself, and indefatigable 
in the interests of the cause ; but there were documents in 
the parcel he had left with him w hich he should absolutely 
need to consult. So sorry — so very sorry ! But the cause 
before everything — was it not so ? 

The self-possession of the speaker, as he proceeded with 
various observations in his platform voice, impressed Mr. 
Byde as particularly admirable, lie listened with an almost 
aesthetic gusto to the lecturer's fine tones, and the beati- 
tude of this platform physiognomy filled him with a serene 
bliss, a secular exultation. If he could bring the case home 
to a man like Brother Neel ! 


What a triumph for him at the Yard ! "What a capture ! 
What a prisoner he'd make — a fellow like this, with a voice 
like that, and, as grandpa had put it, the ' gift of the gab !' 
Lord — how the trial would be reported, to be sure ! Great 
big lines on the contents-bills of the London evening papers, 
all the evidence reported the next morning fully, his own 
examination-in-chief and cross-examination — ah, he'd like 
to see the counsel on the other side who'd shake him. 
Counsel ? Yes, he know well enough whom they'd give 
the brief to, on the other side, to lead — Shoddy, Q.O., who 
frightened them all, when he rose up to smash a witness. 
They should see how Shoddy would get on with him, George 
Byde, of the V Division ! That Q.C. had had the best of it, 
when they last met, in the great temperance prosecution, 
which had broken down. On that occasion he, Byde, had 
been misinformed ; and Shoddy had upset him altogether, 
with his minute system of cross-examination. But this 
time there would be no error. He'd have the case in a nut- 
shell ; and he'd just show them at the Yard how Shoddy, 
Q.C, was to be discomfited ! And what was more, he'd 
wake up some of the knowing ones at the Yard ! He'd 
read them a lesson on impressionism and rule-of-thumb. 
None of them appeared to divine that in their business lay 
vast possibilities of scientific method. It was his misfortune 
to be incapable, educationally, of exploring, defining, and 
expounding those methods proper to the domain of pure 
reason, as his son would say ; but at any rate the concep- 
tion was his own — the conception of a scientifically-trained 
detective force applying mathematics to their regular work, 
reasoning on infallible processes, with symbols and by 
formulas. He, might be incapable of realizing the concep- 
tion, but there was his son Edgar ! 

They had all three followed Brother Bamber into his 
bureau. Their host had looked about for his keys, and had 
then gone to unlock a small safe which stood in one corner, 
He drew the brown-paper parcel from the lower shelf of the 
safe, and handed it to his colleague. The latter received it 
without pausing in his observations upon the progress of the 
cause. It was a pure and lofty cause, he said. It stimu- 
lated moral qualities which too generally, etc., etc. ; and it 
tended with certainty, if by slow degrees, to kill and elimi- 
nate all those germs of social morbidity which, etc., etc, 



1 Is that your package, then ' — asked the inspector, with 
what appeared to be merely formal concern — ' is that what 
you wished to bring away ?' 

' That is the bundle of papers, yes,' replied Brother Neel, 
glancing at the unbroken seal and at the tightly knotted 

' It has been in secure keeping,' remarked the inspector 
jocularly, indicating the safe. ' Eobbers would not get at 
your papers locked up in there !' 

' Well, I just lodged the parcel there, by the side of other 
documents,' said Brother Bamber, with his fraternal ex- 

The gold stoppings of his front teeth gleamed again, and 
he pushed his gold-rimmed spectacles close up to his sandy 
eyelashes and silky eyebrows. 

Brother Neel would have been pleased to pay his respects 
to Mrs. Bamber ; but that lady was not at home just now, 
her husband stated. She had not yet returned from the 
lecture-room, nor would she be back for perhaps three- 
quarters of an hour. A true helpmate, Mrs. Bamber ; yes, 
were it not for Mrs. Bamber, dear friends, the routine work 
alone of the Paris branch — the daily routine work, dear 
friends — would be crushing, overwhelming, tute-d-fay acca- 
blant, as the French said ! 

None of the visitors had yet spoken of the sensational 
news served up that evening by the Echotier. 

Had Brother Bamber seen to-night's papers, now de- 
manded his colleague, stopping at the threshold of the 
offices, and bending upon the Paris agent of the I.O.T.A. 
a look in which Inspector Byde clearly distinguished mis- 
trust. As yet he had not seen a single evening journal, 
responded Brother Bamber — not one, not one ! Too busy. 
Organization. Multitudinous detail. Multifarious claims. 
Enormous responsibility, the Paris branch. Great cause, 
the I.O.T.A. — noble enterprise ! He gleamed at them 
fraternally, and adjusted his gold-rimmed spectacles. 

Brother Neel relinquished his copy of the Echotier, for 
his colleague to peruse when he found a little leisure. 

They drove back in the direction of the Gare du Nord. 
It was not, however, to the Eue de Compiegne that the 
inspector proceeded. The address he gave was that of his 
own hotel. 


Arrived at his destination, the inspector conducted his 
companions in silence to his private apartment. He had 
taken the parcel into his own charge, and, as soon as they 
were secure from intrusion, he prepared to sever the cords 
which bound up the I.O.T.A. papers. Brother Neel stayed 
him with an impulsive gesture. 

' Be careful — I warn you to be careful in whatever course 
you may be going to adopt !' urged the temperance lecturer, 
with his hand on the inspector's arm. 

It might be anger that had paled his cheeks —it might be 
anger that shook his voice and palsied his hands : anger 
equally with apprehension — conscious innocence equally 
with conscious guilt. 

' If you have any statement to make,' returned Mr. 
Toppin's superior officer, in a business-like tone, ' we can 
hear it. Only be quick, please !' 

He paused for the other to continue. 

' The society I represent possesses friends in high quarters. 
Be careful ! We are a powerful organization !' 

Mr. Byde waited. Mr. Toppin flushed with the anticipa- 
tion of triumph. At the same time Mr. Toppin could not 
altogether make it out. 

' If the great cause I represent, with all the influential 
interests that are engaged in it, should be damaged in my 
person, remember ' 

' Come, come, sir,' replied Inspector Byde, ' you have 
nothing to complain of. You are not in custody. Is that 

Brother Neel transferred his trembling fingers from the 
inspector's arm to the sealed cover of the parcel itself. 

' I know you by repute, Inspector Byde,' he went on, 
« and I expect no mercy at your hands. But you are wrong. 
You are on the brink of another great mistake. Can you 
not give me the respite of a day — one day?' 

The inspector pursed up his lips, raised his eyebrows, and 
very slowly shook his head. 

' I tell you, you are wrong— WEONG 1' thundered 
Brother Neel, with a sudden maniacal rage. ' I — teld 


Mr. Toppin took his hands out of his pockets, and stood 
with his arms loosely hung ready for a spring. 

' There is only one thing I understand,' said the in- 


spector, still calmly, bending over the table, ' and that's 
evidence !' 

' Evidence ! — ha ! — evidence t — Listen, you obtuse 
clown ' 

' Enough of this,' interrupted the inspector quietly ; 
' another man in my place might have passed you on to the 
authorities here for your attempts at intimidation alone. 
We must go on. I am responsible to my superiors.' 

' And some of your superiors are at our head !' 

' And if they were found with stolen property in their 
possession, under circumstances they were unable to 
explain, they would be treated just as you will be 
treated, sir — neither more nor less. For shame, sir — for 
shame I' 

Brother Neel flung his arm up with an air of recklessness. 
His eyes sparkling and his forehead heavily knitted, he 
began to pace up and down the inspector's private sitting- 
room. Every now and then he would toss his long, dark, 
oily locks back from his forehead and behind his ears. It 
was an effective gesture for any public scene. In this 
limited space, with only two spectators in the gallery, and 
both of them in their ways of thought exceedingly matter- 
of-fact, this leonine carriage of the head, this ample, com- 
manding action of the arm, seemed unnecessary and ridicu- 
lous. Brother Neel, of the International Organization of 
Total Abstainers, looked every inch a charlatan. 

Detective Toppin had stepped round to the door-mat as 

' That's the article I want to look at,' said the inspector, 
as the packet in white tissue-paper slipped out from the 
midst of the printed and manuscript documents he had 
spread along on either side, on breaking the inner seals. 
The white tissue-paper bore stains and blotches which, even 
in the imperfect light of the candles, Toppin could perceive 
from the door. 

"With great care the inspector stripped off the white tissue 
covering, and unfastened the green silk binding together the 
sides of the bulky pocket-book, or letter-case, as it appeared 
to Toppin. 

Almost as soon as the silk thread had been removed from 
this letter-case or pocket-book, a little heap of glittering 
crystals tumbled from both its sides on to the table. 


* 'Cre nom cle noma !' ejaculated Toppin. ' Diamonds !' 

' Yes,' answered Brother Neel sneeringly, his head 
thrown back, and his arms folded on his chest — 
' diamonds !' 

Kually ? 

The inspector uttered an exclamation of ungovernable 
surprise, and, picking up half a dozen of the objects in 
question, held them for examination close to the flame of 
the candle. 


It was undoubtedly an exclamation of surprise — the excla- 
mation that had burst from the inspector as his eye fell on 
the heap of brilliants which had poured from the twin sides 
of the small portfolio. Toppin could not see the brilliants 
from his position at the door. Around them like a rampart 
lay the documents belonging to the I.O.T.A. 

' Yes, diamonds !' reiterated Brother Neel, with a sneer 
of still greater intensity, at once mocking and defiant — 'yes, 
diamonds !' 

' 'Crd nom de noms de noms !' 

In his excitement Mr. Toppin swore with triple force in 
French. It dawned upon him now that these were the 
AVilmot diamonds, value £20,000. 

The half-dozen stones picked up at random by Inspector 
Byde were promptly replaced, and with the rest put back 
into the folding velvet case. The inspector was not by any 
means a bad judge of precious stones. 

' Are these your property ?' said he, leaning forward, 
with both hands on the table ; retaining his hold, however, 
en the small portfolio. 

' No, they are not,' replied Brother Neel. 

' Can you account for their being in your possession ?' 

• I can.' 

' At once, then, please !' 

' I can give the clearest account of their being in my 
temporary possession — those diamonds,' returned Brother 
Neel deliberately. ' In twenty-four hours I shall be able to 
furnish you with the fullest explanation, I think.' 


' Twenty-four hours !' 

' Yes, sir — that's what I said : twenty-four hours. Per- 
haps less ; not more, I should hope.' 

' I should hope not, too. Try and make it less, Mr. 
Neel — in your own interest, try and make it a good deal 
less. They don't allow us little vacations of that sort at 
Scotland Yard.' 

' For the moment I am not my own master.' 

' Come, come, sir — a detail or two. How did these valu- 
ables pass into your possession ?' 

' I desire to postpone my answer, which will be complete 
and authoritative when I give it.' 

' When did they pass into your possession ?' 

' I must ask you to consider that as bound up with the 
other question.' 

' Oh, no mysteries, please ! You are speaking to police- 
officers. Realize the situation, sir.' 

' For the moment I can say no more. Do as you choose. 
I realize the situation — oh, don't be alarmed, I realize it ! 
In a parcel of which I admit the ownership, amidst the 
documents of the society employing me, and virtually re- 
sponsible for my character, you find extremely valuable 
property secreted — for that is what it amounts to, does it 
not, Mr. Inspector Byde ? — secreted. The inference is that 
I have stolen this property, or that I am the confederate of 
the actual thieves. Very well, sir. Do as you think proper. 
I cautioned you at the outset ; I tell you now that all can 
be explained to you in, say, twenty-four hours. If you 
cannot wait, you cannot wait ! Take the risk. Appearances 
• are with you, although if you trust to them you will rue it. 
I don't know that 1 need dread the consequences of your 
hasty action, either for myself or for my cause. Do as you 
wish, Mr. Byde. Place me under arrest. I shall be de- 
lighted to see you perpetrate another blunder.' 

Without being aware of it, Brother Neel had hit the 
inspector on a weak spot. Mr. Byde's morbid mistrust of 
' appearances ' has been alluded to before. He took refuge 
in a curt platitude, hoping that the other's fury might pre- 
vent him from remaining passive. 

' Besides,' resumed the temperance lecturer roughly, ' you 
are in a foreign country, please to recollect. Ha ! Place 
me under arrest ? You will be careful to keep your hands 


off me, both of you. Where is your warrant to take mo 
into custody? I was weak — by the Lord Harry, now I 
think of it, I was incredibly weak ! — to yield in the first 
place to your meddling with my personal affairs. Arrest 
me at your peril !' 

' Toppin can do it in a few minutes, if you'd like to see 
how it's to be done,' observed the inspector. ' I'm afraid 
you don't quite grasp the situation yet. A man believed to 
have had stolen property in his possession was found mur- 
dered in the mail-train which arrived in Paris from London 
early in the morning. The property in question was miss- 
ing. You, who were a traveller by the same train, are now 
found, on the second evening after the murder, to have the 
missing property in your possession : I won't say "secreted." 
Now, the French police — with whom Mr. Toppin has official 
relations — are very actively occupied in seeking out traces 
of the crime ; and if you were indicated to them you may 
depend upon it that without waiting twenty-four minutes, 
to say nothing of twenty-four hours, they would have you 
under arrest as ' 

' What !— As a murderer?' 

' As the individual implicated by the circumstances of tho 

' What ! — I should be suspected of the murder of that 
man ?' 

' That is what would happen if Mr. Toppin, my colleague, 
called them in. That is what will happen, I am afraid ; 
for, upon this evidence, unexplained ' — the inspector touched 
the small portfolio — ' we shall be bound to call upon our 
French colleagues.' 

'But as we drove along just now, the evening newspapers 
were announcing the arrest of the assassin.' 


' Well, then — how ' Brother Neel was about to put 

an obvious question, but suddenly changed his tone. ' That 
could not be' — he recoiled, as he gazed from Inspector Byde 
to Detective Toppin, and from Detective Toppin to Inspector 

' Oh, no,' interposed Toppin impetuously — ' a mistake, 
that case !' 

' This is hard to bear !' exclaimed Brother Neel, striking 
his forehead with one hand, and clenching the other. 


' Yes ; and we can't waste any more time over it,' said 
the inspector peremptorily. ' Now, I will go farther with 
you than my duty requires me to go. You arrived in Paris 
yesterday morning by the night-mail from London, due 
here at 5.50. Not long after your arrival you returned to 
the post-office at the railway-station — come : you see we 
know more than you imagined ! Make your explanation 
now, and have done with it. Otherwise •' 

' I went back to the station post-office,' answered Brother 
Neel readily enough — ' because I had an urgent telegram to 
send off, and a letter. The letter was addressed to the council 
of the I.O.T.A., and the telegram to the secretary of the 
I.O.T.A., informing him that the letter was on its way, and 
begging him to call the members of the Council together for 
business of the most important nature. This business is 
the same with regard to which you have demanded expla- 
nations. The reply from the Council may arrive to-morrow 
morning, or at any time I may receive a telegram. My 
object, however, in requesting the delay of twenty-four 
hours, was that I should be enabled to wire to the secretary 
at once, urging him to send me back by the very first post 
my own letter to the Council, with my own envelope bear- 
ing the stamps, post-mark, etc. He would, of course, 
do as I requested, and I should receive them back by 
to-morrow evening — that is to say, in twenty-four hours' 

' What would that prove ?' inquired Inspector Byde. 

' Prove ? It would prove ' The speaker stopped short 

as though he measured his own situation for the first time 
with independent eyes. ' Well, it would prove my good 
faith,' he went on, with some embarrassment — ' and yet I 
suppose that — I suppose that you would not admit it to 
prove anything !' He took a hasty turn or two about the 
room. ' So far as that goes there would be nothing in the 
contents of my letter to the Council which you could not 

learn from me now, if ' He went abruptly to the 

mantelpiece, poured out a glass of water, and drank it 
nervously. ' I am not my own master in this. The I.O.T.A. 
must not be compromised, and I ought not to move until I 
hear from them. If they are compromised by me — if the 
cause in general suffers through my instrumentality — why, 
my prospects would be entirely ruined ! In one moment I 


should forfeit my position, I should lose my means of liveli- 
hood. My name is known on temperance platforms from 
one end of England to the other; I should be a marked 
man, and cast out. What would become of me ? At my 
age begin life again — —how ? IIow ? Would you have 
me sink into crime or into genteel mendicancy? What 
work could I offer to perform — what work could I — I 
— tamely sit down to and drudge at after so many years 

' Ah, things are made very pleasant for you " brethren " 
of the temperance bands,' observed Mr. Byde irrelevantly, 
and with a sternness in which his idiosyncrasy asserted itself. 
' You lay down the law to other people quite old enough to 
decide for themselves ; you take their money and spend it 
on yourselves ; and you are answerable to nobody but your- 
selves. I don't wonder that your lazy, prating, selfish life 
unfits you for useful work.' 

' I see that I must expect no mercy from you, Inspector 
Byde,' was the reply. ' I see that I must take my risk ; I 
see that if I refuse to speak until I receive the sanction I 
have asked for — asked for, loyally — in the very interests of 
the people I serve, and with no other motive — I see that my 
struggle with the circumstances of the moment will be of no 
avail. You will do your duty — you must do your duty. In 
the absence of explanation from me, you will have to cause 
my arrest. The harm which I am seeking to stave off will 
be done irremediably. Perhaps I shall serve them best by 
speaking at once.' He refilled the glass, and moistened his 
lips. ' If you could await my letter, you would acknowledge 
that I have acted in good faith — in apparent good faith I 
mean, of course : oh, I comprehend your bias ! If I had 
any doubts whatever upon the subject, the extraordinary 
observations you permitted yourself just now would extin- 
guish them. I don't know, by the way, whether it forms 
part of your duty, Mr. Inspector Byde, to lecture your 
prisoners ' — the inspector waved his hand in deprecation, 
and, yes, a slight flush mounted to his cheeks — ' for that is 
what my position here amounts to ! — to lecture your 
prisoners on their choice of a vocation : but allow me to say 
that an attitude of that kind constitutes a gross abuse of 
your advantage. You wdl not believe my story, I suppose. 
But you shall hear it 1' 


' As briefly as possible,' said the inspector, in a gentler 

Brother Neel threw himself into a fauteuil. 

' I was a passenger from London with the man whose 
body lies at the Morgue. I know his name ; he told it me 
in conversation. He gave me some idea, ostensibly, of his 
business position, too. Between London and Dover ' 

' We are acquainted with your movements during the 
first part of your journey ; and only one thing concerns us 
— how did this property pass into your possession ?' 

4 You may ask me why I have not come forward to iden- 
tify this man, knowing what I know from his own lips ? 
That is one point upon which I preferred to consult the 
Council of my society. The deceased and myself were 
fellow-passengers from Calais to Boulogne. There were in- 
dividuals travelling with us whose looks neither of us liked, 
and whose society we both endeavoured to avoid. From a 
curious incident on the journey I half suspected that the 
deceased was a member of your own calling, instead of being, 
as he had related for the benefit of us all, a Mr. Eemington, 
residing in the Park Lane neighbourhood. He changed 
compartments, and I must say that I followed him, prefer- 
ring his society, at any rate, to that of the two individuals 
with whom he would have left me. The deceased had the 
appearance of a man who had been drinking continuously. 
Towards the latter portion of the journey he became 
extremely drowsy, and could scarcely keep awake. I 
thought he wanted a compartment to himself in order to be 
able to sleep, and when he changed once more I did not 
move from my own compartment, where, indeed, I was 
alone, and comfortably installed. From your own informa- 
tion you will be aware of the fact, I dare say, that very few 
passengers had travelled by the train. I now come to the 
first material fact.' 

Inspector Byde had been meditatively sharpening a long 
lead pencil. Out of his capacious pocket he now extracted 
a note-book of ominously official aspect, and, opening it, sat 
ready to jot down what he might consider of importance in 
the narrative. 

Toppin heaved a fluttering sigh. 

' We had touched for an instant at Creil, which was the 
last of our stoppages before reaching Paris, and about fifteen 


minutes had elapsed — fifteen or twenty minutes — since we 
had run out of the Creil station. I was leaning back in the 
corner of the compartment, with my face to the engine, 
when, even above the great noise made by the train as it 
rushed along at full speed, I fancied I heard a detonation, 
close to my ear. The travelling cap I wore enabled me to 
rest my head against the wooden partition, and I suppose 
that that acted as a sort of sounding-board. One report 
only was what I heard, if indeed it were a report at all. 
Had we been travelling in the daytime I might have con- 
cluded that the sound was caused by a pebble thrown at the 
passing train and striking one of the windows, or that as we 
dashed under a bridge a stone or other missile had been 
dropped on to perhaps the metal frame of the carriage-lamp. 
It was barely five, however, on a December morning, and 
pitch dark. The detonation, although not distinct, had 
seemed close to my ear, and as I reflected I felt convinced 
it was a pistol-shot that I had heard. The French guard 
of the train had once or twice startled me, during the 
earlier part of the journey, by suddenly entering the com- 
partment from the footboard for the purpose of examining 
tickets. I don't know what it was — why I should have 
thought of any such thing — but a suspicion of foul play 
forced itself upon my mind. The occurrences of the journey 
had been peculiar— the story told by the deceased about the 
Wilmot diamonds — the night arrest at Dover — that young 
man's calm protestation of innocence — the persistency of 
the two individuals whom we repeatedly met, but who never 
spoke to us — and then the abrupt appearance of the French 
guard while we were hurrying through the storm in the 
dark — all these things influenced me, I suppose. I jumped 
up and went to the far window. Letting down the glass 
and looking out, I could just detect the door of, not the 
next, but the second compartment in my rear, swinging 
open. If the door had swung towards me I could not have 
perceived it. But it opened in the contrary direction to my 
own, and what enabled me to see it was the faint gleam 
from the lamp on the inner surface of the door, which was 
painted in a light colour. The lamp had apparently burnt low, 
as in my own compartment. Nothing but this glimmer of 
faint light as the door swayed slightly with the rapid 
motion of the train was distinguishable in the utter gloom. 


In my place, Mr. Inspector Byde, what would you have 
done ?' 

' Let us get on, sir,' said the inspector, fidgeting with the 
lead pencil. 

Mr. Toppin expanded his chest, and sniffed with remark- 
able significance. 

' Eung the alarm bell, and stopped the train ? On what 
ground? What had I to show as justification? A sound — 
which, after all, was I certain I had heard? — and an open 
door ? My own alarm was personal to myself, arose from 
the condition of my own mind, might be due to mere 
physical fatigue, at that moment in the twenty-four hours 
when the vitality is lowest. Had I really, as a matter of 
fact, heard the detonation I imagined I had heard ? Had I 
not been asleep ? The open door ? The door might have 
been carelessly closed, and left unfastened. However, I 
resolved to see !' 

The inspector flattened out his note-book, and prepared 
to write. 

' Yes ! In the interests of my own safety, I resolved to 
see. For on the other hand, if it were some deed of violence, 
a sinister plot by the very servants of the railway, my turn 
might arrive next : did I know ? I opened the far door of 
my own compartment, and stepped on to the footboard. It 
was an easy proceeding to pass along outside. The sup- 
ports available for the ticket examiner, as he swung himself 
from carriage to carriage throughout the entire length of the 
train, were available to me also in the few steps I had to 
make. The carriages rocked and jolted once or twice, and 
I had to grope my way ; but I kept my footing without 
any difficulty. The whole affair occupied a few seconds, I 
should say. Well, what did I find? The compartment 
immediately behind my own was empty. The curtains had 
been drawn down, and had been left drawn, but through 
the window of the door I could see that there was no one in 
the compartment. Arrived at the compartment next it, 
farther along, I found the curtain drawn there too — but, 
peering round the edge of the doorway, to my amazement, j 
saw ' 

Brother Neel broke off abruptly. The scene he conjured 
up appeared to overwhelm him ; or was it that the delicacy 
of his own position now struck him with a paralysing force ? 


' You saw ?' demanded the inspector in a passionless voice, 
as the lead pencil came to a standstill. 

' I saw the figures of two men — and blood,' continued the 
narrator, his hushed and slower accents betraying, perhaps 
awe, perhaps horror, perhaps consternation. ' One of the 
two men had his face turned away from me ; and he was 
stooping across the body of the other. He had his back 
towards the doorway of the compartment, and I could see 
that he was searching in the pockets, in the lining even, of 
the other's garments. The other lay motionless along the 
seat. The light was dim, but not too dim for me to fail in 
recognising the features of that other. It was the man 
whose body has been transported to the Morgue — the man 
who had been my own travelling companion up to, it seemed, 
but a few minutes previously — the man with whom I had 
been talking, hour after hour, until weariness overcame us 
both. In spite of the dim light, I could discern the look 
upon his features, as without intercepting my view of them, 
the figure between us bent still lower in the search. On his 
countenance I saw the look which it has ever since retained, 
the look which you may study at the Morgue, if studies of 
the murdered leave but a transitory impress on your mind, 
my good sir — " Mr. Smithson " — but the look which I need 
no visit to the Morgue to call up ; for I see it plainly — I can 
see it now !' Brother Neel flung out his arm, and started 
to his feet. ' The eyes were open, and they glistened in the 
dull, yellow light from the lamp above. Blood was oozing 
from a wound in the temple.' 

' Blood was oozing from a wound in the temple,' repeated 
the inspector, in the same passionless tone, as he wrote 
down the words. ' The right temple — or the left ?' The 
question and the glance were like a couple of electric rapier 

' Why — the left, of course,' answered Brother Neel, with 
the natural hesitation of the man who refers to a fixed 
mental image. ' The deceased was in a recumbent position, 
on his right side, with his back to the engine. My impulse 
was to enter the carriage and seize the man who was leaning 
over, away from me, almost within arm's length. The eon- 
sequences, however, flashed through my mind. It seemed 
improbable that the man before me was without confederates. 
A confederate might be watching at that instant : I myself 


in one moment more might Just then, the man 

appeared to have] extracted some object from the breast- 
pocket of the deceased. He held the object away from him, 
in his left hand. As he extended his arm, the object came 
within my reach. I snatched it from him. The object I 
speak of was the package in white tissue-paper which you 
have discovered among the documents of the society.' 

' What happened then ?' 

' The individual in front of me, instead of at once turning, 
made a dash through the carriage to the opposite door, 
through which I imagine he escaped — but on that point I 
know nothing. All that I can tell you is that I never saw 
his face. I don't profess to be a hero. So far as bodily 
encounters are concerned, I should hear myself called a 
coward with perfect equanimity. My youth and early man- 
hood were passed among Quakers, and what the world might 
choose to term poltroonery, I could vindicate by the precept 
or the example of prominent members of that faith, one or 
two even illustrious. I immediately swung myself back, and 
retreated along the footboard to my own compartment. 
The incident had thoroughly unnerved me, although it was 
not at the time, but afterwards, that I underwent its full 
effect. With great difficulty I retained my footing and my 
hold on making my way back. At first it seemed inevitable 
that I should be pursued. I remained for several minutes 
on the alert, ready to ring the alarm-bell on the slightest 
appearance of danger. But no single incident arose to excite 
suspicion or misgiving. The night-mail thundered onwards 
through the raw air of the black winter's morning. A 
traveller had been murdered in his sleep, but no one knew 
it — no one but the murderer and myself !' 

Brother Neel's vocal organ once more aroused the in- 
spector's disinterested admiration. The subdued tones 
thrilled you quite deliciously. It was hard upon the tem- 
perance lecturer that though he no doubt spoke the truth, 
the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, as often as most 
other people, his native oratorical gifts gave you constantly 
the impression that he was addicted to the opposite practice, 
reinforcing the less likely of his fictions by the rhetorician's 
graces, the elocutionist's art. 

' Had you no means whatever of identifying the assassin ?' 

« None.' 


' You could not say whether he wore a guard's uniform or 
not ?' 

' It was impossible to distinguish anything of the sort.' 

' Could you say whether he wore a cap or hat ?' 

' Yes ; I can positively state that he was bare-headed. 
That I noticed as he rose from his stooping posture, when I 
snatched the small package from his hand. What light 
there was fell directly on his head.' 

' Then you can tell us something about this ghostly gen- 
tleman after all : whether he wore his hair in long ringlets, 
or in curl papers, whether cropped short, or in a chignon, or 
whether he was bald ?' 

' He had short, dark hair, like a few millions of other 
men — that is all I can say,' coldly responded Brother Neel. 

' When did you examine the contents of the packet ?' 

' Not until I reached my hotel, Eue de Compiegne.' 

* And what did you find ?' 

' What you have just found.' 

' Never mind about me, if you please. My question is, 
what did you find ? and be particularly careful about your 
answer, because it may be necessary for evidence.' 

' I found that the case contained loose diamonds of con- 
siderable size. I did not count them ; but there were, 
comparatively speaking, a large number of them. I replaced 
them ' 

' All ?' Eapid thrusts in carte and in tierce. 

' All ?' echoed Brother Neel ; ' yes— all !' 

The iteration and the manner were equivalent to a 
* Touche" /' The inspector's lead pencil laboured across the 
page. ' I replaced all the diamonds in the case, but did not 
count them,' he repeated aloud, reading from his notes ; and 
he added a private memorandum in the margin — ' Has 
probably kept some back.' 

' You made no declaration, I believe, to the authorities 
here. May I ask whether you have spoken of this to any 
person whatever until now ?' 

' To no person whatever. But what I did, without a 
moment's loss of time, was to telegraph, as I have said, to 
the secretary of our great society, advising him of the com- 
munication which would follow by post. That communica- 
tion I duly forwarded, as you are aware. It simply related 
the occurrences I have iust described, and requested a sug- 



gestion or instruction from the Council. Until the Council 
directed me as to my course of action, I pledged myself to 
divulge to no one the part I had involuntarily played in this 
mysterious crime. You can understand plainly that for the 
I.O.T.A. to be mixed up, through one of its accredited 
agents, in an affair of this kind, just at the moment when its 
roots were striking deeper into foreign soil, became a matter 
of the greatest gravity. Misapprehension so easily arises ; 
motives can be so easily misconstrued abroad. What may 
prove the answer of the Council I know not. If they had 
ordered me to preserve an absolute silence — resolving to 
transmit those valuables anonymously to the police — I 
should have obeyed them. Such may still prove their 
answer, for all I can affirm. But we have not reckoned 
with Scotland Yard. Ah, what a terrible disaster ! these 
two affairs happening simultaneously — the stupid calumnies 
of that sensational paper, and then this ! What a catas- 
trophe, great heavens !' Brother Neel wrung his hands. 
He had introduced an effective quaver into his notes on the 
tower register. 

' It's a pity you neglected to count the stones,' observed 
the inspector, collecting himself for a decisive lunge — ' and 
it's a pity you restored them all — all, every one of them — to 
the case ; a great pity, really, sir !' 

The other kept an unmoved countenance, as he listened. 

' Because,' resumed Mr. Byde, brusquely fixing him with 
a look, — ' these diamonds are false !' 

There was a dead silence. 

'Floored,' wrote the inspector as a purely private 
memorandum ; ' has kept some of them back.' 

' 'Crd nom!' muttered Toppin. 

The temperance lecturer began an undefined melody in a 
toneless whistle and sank back into his arm-chair. 

' Just come and look at these articles, Mr. Toppin, will 
you ?' said the inspector. 

Mr. Toppin advanced with alacrity to the table, and took 
up a few of the scintillating crystals pushed towards him by 
his superior officer. 

' Well, it's not a good light for the purpose,' he remarked, 
after an examination by the flame of the candle, ' but you're 
right, inspector, they're not the real thing.' 
■■' The real thing !' was the emphatic reply ; ' they're paste I* 


' The best I ever saw, though,' said Toppin. 

' Yes,' concurred the inspector ; ' good, and no mistake, 
but paste. It must be a new process.' 

' Well, then, gentlemen,' exclaimed Brother Neel, spring- 
ing briskly to his feet — ' how do we stand ?' 

' Why, there's a primd facie case against you, sir,' 
returned Mr. Byde. ' And what makes it worse is that you 
demanded twenty-four hours' grace. These are imitation 
stones, are they not ? Well, an ignorant policeman might 
conjecture that the genuine ones were in the hands of a 
confederate. The confederate could skip across the frontier 
on a twenty-four hours' notice, or, if already in Amsterdam, 
could throw the diamonds into the market at a slight loss 
of value but no loss of time. Oh, dear me ! — -what a pity 
you did not keep one or two of them back — just one or two 
— as specimens !' 

' I regret the omission,' said Brother Neel, reddening. 
' You are not going to accuse me, I presume, of being 
engaged in a dishonest transaction, such as that, with a 
confederate ? The mere suggestion is disgraceful. Whether 
they are spurious or genuine, the stones you have there are 
the stones I found in the case that lies before you. The 
parcel has been out of my own custody, that is true. But 
the seals were intact when it came into my hands again, and 
I do not see how it could have been tampered with, or why 
— even admitting a possibility of such conduct on the part of 
my colleague, Mr. Bamber, which I do not admit.' 

' Of course you can see what those facts involve — with 
regard to the perpetration of the crime you have narrated ?' 

' That a murder was committed to obtain possession of 
paste diamonds? Yes, that must bo the inference, I suppose. 
The murderer knew of some such objects as these being in 
the possession of the deceased, I suppose, and erroneously 
believed them to be genuine diamonds.' 

' Ah, but we are advised that the deceased was most 
probably in unlawful possession, likewise. Had he, also, 
been deceived ? The merchandise is good, I don't deny it, 
but not so good as all that — come ! And the fact is unde- 
niable that the Wilmot diamonds, represented by these 
things, are missing — under circumstances that connect the 
deceased with their abstraction.' 

' Well, those are matters for yourselves, gentlemen. They 


don't concern me. I can't engage in the detection of crime, 
with you. The articles before you are compromising articles ; 
that I understood from the outset. You have asked me how 
they came into my possession, and why I wanted to defer 
my explanation; I have told you. Now, Mr. Byde, sir — 
pray what does your duty require you to do ?' 

' Just see if you can recollect whether, between your 
acquisition of this package and the moment at which you 
lodged it with your colleague, it did not pass out of your 
control ? My duty doesn't require me to put this to you ; 
and you needn't answer unless you like.' 

His recollection was clear enough on the subject, said 
Brother Neel. So long as the property remained in his 
personal keeping he was in danger ; that he had very 
speedily realized. And until he should receive the instruc- 
tions of the council of the I.O.T.A. he stood absolutely at 
his own devices. He had therefore with great care 
examined the chances of his own situation. It had seemed 
to him that if he carried about with him such valuable 
property as this property had appeared to be, he would be 
exposing himself needlessly to risks of an extraneous 
character. A street accident — anything — might unex- 
pectedly bring to light the nature of the package ; whilst if 
he had been identified as a passenger by the night-mail, and 
if he had been temporarily detained and searched, the 
discovery of the supposed diamonds would have inculpated 
him tremendously. He had concluded that it would be 
safer, of the two courses, to leave the package in his 
portmanteau, locked, at the hotel. This he had done, 
arguing — to be quite frank with Inspector Byde — that the 
presence of the property in his luggage did not necessarily 
inculpate him. It might have been placed there, somehow, 
by someone else, who— having kept back a portion of the 
supposititious valuables — sought to definitively exclude 
himself from the scope of possible suspicion by directly 
implicating some third person. Why should not the guards 
of the train, or one of them, have done this ? His luggage 
had been registered through, and from London to Paris he 
had not once set eyes on it. Not a bad story, that ! 
concluded Brother Neel cynically. 

' Not at all,' approved Inspector Byde. 

It had afterwards occurred to him that a more secure 


depository would be desirable than a locked portmanteau in 
a room at an hotel. He did not know that the lock of his 
own portmanteau was a particularly difficult one ; and the 
servants of the hotel 

' The servants ?' burst forth Toppin, his countenance 
illumining— ' the servants ?— that's it I' In two strides he 
was at the inspector's elbow. ' That Anarchist fellow,' he 
whispered, almost inaudibly to the inspector himself, 
although he bent down close to the latter's ear and walled 
in his words with his hand. ' That Anarchist !' 

' Well ?' growled Mr. Byde, in real anger at his colleague's 

' Picked the lock and stole the genuine. Put the paste in, 
pour donner le change.' 

' Pooh ! Nonsense !' returned the inspector loudly. 
' Nonsense !' he repeated, as if endeavouring to undo the 
effect of Mr. Toppin's outburst. ' A great pity you replaced 
the property intact, sir,' he continued in a bluff and jovial 
manner ; ' a great pity you did not put by one or two, say, 
just as specimens ! Did you ever find your portmanteau 
unlocked, on returning to your room?' 

4 Yes — once. It was just before I made up that parcel in 
order to leave it at the offices of the I.O.T.A., Boulevard 
Haussmann, in a place of safety.' Brother Neel related the 
circumstance with which the reader is acquainted. He had 
simply gone down to breakfast at the table d'hote, after 
having, as he thought, secured his portmanteau as usual. 
When he got back into the room he discovered that he must 
have failed to turn the key in the lock, after all; because the 
portmanteau was unfastened. He had had a momentary 
misgiving, but the package was all right, and so were its con- 
tents. It was then that he hastened to convey it to a place 
of greater safety. With regard to the observation by the 
inspector's colleague, just now, of course the hotel servants 
had access to his apartment. The servant who answered 
his bell, as a rule, was the man they had both seen that 
evening. The man who did not speak English — the An- 

' One word more, if you please. Was it part of your 
system, Mr. Neel, to deny, categorically, at the Morgue, that 
you preserved the slightest recollection of the deceased ?' 

' Just so. A lie, was it not ? But it appears to have been 


a part of your own system to present yourself as a Mr. 
Smithson, strongly interested in the welfare of the I.O.T.A. : 
a lie, also, was it not ?' 

' Well, yes,' responded the inspector, making his prepara- 
tions to depart, ' and my conscience is black with lies of that 
description, I'm afraid. " 'Tis my vocation, Hal," as Byron 
says. I hope that in the business which you follow, sir, 
you are under no similar obligation of lying frequently, and 
with a plausible face.' 

They were all ready to accompany the inspector whither 
he listed. Mr. Byde regretted that the hour for the second 
table d'hote was past. Possibly they might secure some 
dinner all the same, at the Hotel des Nations; for that was 
the spot to which they must now repair. For the present 
he and Mr. Toppin would be under the necessity of imposing 
their society upon Brother Neel. 

' There will be no scandal, I trust,' urged the temperance 
lecturer. ' You Scotland Yard men ' 

' At Scotland Yard, sir, we are men of business — and 
gentlemen. It is not ive who make scandals.' 

'Because, you know, I warn you! The I.O.T.A. will 
suffer in my person ; and we have powerful influences — 
people you would not dream of, perhaps — with us in the 
I.O.T.A. Our Grand Worthy Master -' 

' Oh, say no more about that body, I beg !' The inspector 
led the way to the door. ' The I.O.T.A., sir, and its Grand 
Worthy Masters !' he retorted, stopping with his fingers on 
the handle ; ' I don't recognise their existence, sir, I don't 
know them. Brother Neel may be concerned in this case, 
and that's all I can report about. As for I.O.T. A.'s, they've 
no more to do with this affair than — than '—the inspector 
hesitated, at a loss for his parallel — 'than the pons asinorum, 
sir ! Unless, indeed, this particular I.O.T.A. should turn 
out to be organized receivers of stolen property : in which 
case we shall require to have before us a very great deal with 
respect to the extent of their powerful influences V 

' 'Crd nom /' ejaculated Toppin, 



Me. Byde was met, as he descended with his companions 
into the vestibule of the Terminus Hotel, by the travelled 
waiter who had moved in the patrician spheres of Battersea. 

' A lettaire,' said that accomplished linguist, 'a lettaire for 
Mistaire Bydee which have been leave.' The superscription 
on the note he handed to the inspector was in a feminine 

' Why,' exclaimed Toppin jocularly, ' this is our friend 
who can't stand the police ! — never could stand them— no 
one in the family has ever been able to endure them. Hates 
the police, arid everything connected with them !' 

' All, vous savez,' answered the student of the English 
social system, as he beamed and raised his eyebrows, and 
brought one shoulder up under his ear, in a shrug of gratified 
protest — ' vous savez — there are those little weaknesses that 
run in the blood ! It's that, or it's this : like a predisposi- 
tion to a malady — tiens ? Some people will inherit the germs 
of scrofula ; others abhor blackbeetles and rats. Moi — I — 
it's policemen : je ne peux pas Us voir en peinture ! That is 
how I am — c 'est plus fort que moi!' 

' A nice old cup of tea you are !' Mr. Toppin spoke with 
the disgusting familiarity in which at times he would permit 
himself to indulge, and he pinched the waiter's frail forearm 
between his finger and thumb. ' How are they getting 
along at the Prefecture ?' 

' I beck parton ?' Belapsing into the English language, 
the speaker threw an alarmed look behind him ; but there 
was no one to overhear. ' The lady have wait in her carriage 
reply,' he hastened to inform Inspector Byde. 

' Come here,' proceeded Mr. Toppin, with insular brutality, 
' whom do you think you've been getting at ? The next 
time you go down to the Prefecture, you tell Monsieur Hy 
that you've made my acquaintance — that is to say, the 
acquaintance of Mr. Detective Thomas Toppin, of the 
English Surete — Yes ! And don't you talk so much about 
the police. Your overdoing it, young fellur !' 

Mr. Toppin was superb, just now. If anything, he was 
the junior of the two; but he had the assurance which 
accompanies mediocrity. When he said a thing, he not only 


looked as if he meant it, every word of it, but as if he meant 
a good deal more than, out of consideration for his hearer, 
he would wish to put into words. He did not, as a rule, 
however, mean very much more than he actually expressed, 
to do him justice. He was a remarkably fine young man, 
with — by nature — a portentous cast of countenance ; and he 
always imposed upon other mediocrities, and sometimes upon 
quite superior persons. 

The recipient of the missive hurried through the vestibule, 
and crossed the pavement outside. A private carriage stood 
waiting nearly opposite the hotel entrance. 

' I'm so sorry to trouble you, Mr. Byde,' said Mrs. Bertram, 
as she approached the window — ' but you must lay the 
blame on this wilful young lady here. She would, insist 
upon our calling to see if you had any news, and we have 
come expressly. There ! — now justify yourself, Adela !' 

' Oh, have you any news, Mr. Byde ?' exclaimed Miss 
Knollys, her profile suddenly emerging from the deep 
shadow. 'Yom haven't any bad news, have you?' In the 
young lady's accent the inspector distinguished that he was 
implored not to have bad news to communicate. ' I feel 
sure there ought to be no bad news — but the suspense is 
terrible.' The full rays of the carriage lamps fell on the 
inspector's face, as he listened, but the obscurity of the 
interior shrouded both occupants from his own view. The 
figure of Miss Knollys appeared the vaguest of out- 
lines to him. When she had impulsively bent forward, the 
bright eyes which he had seen filled with tears glistened 
clearly through the gloom; and, now, as a little half-nervous, 
half-apologetic laugh ended her appeal, the dark shadow 
seemed to be touched by one transient ray from a star. 

Yes, he would certainly do whatever he could — whatever 
he could — for a charming young lady like this, thought Mr. 

Byde : a charming young lady, so Eh ? Why, what on 

earth ! Two or three of his favourite couplots rose up 

simultaneously to rebuke him. And indeed a pretty frame 
of mind for the systematic opponent of impressionism ! 
What if young people were blessed with good looks — where 
was the sense — 

' Where's the sense, direct and moral, 
That teeth are pearl, or lips are coral ?' 


What had he to do with the charms of young ladies per- 
sonally interested in the results of his investigations — with 
their charms and with their woes ? Very unfortunate for 
this Mr. Sinclair, if he found he could not prove that ■ 

' Ah — you have bad news — that was what I feared — and I 
was right to come ! Something has happened ! I knew 
— I knew — that something must have happened. Tell me 
what it is : I have a right to know ! — or let us telegraph, 
dear Mrs. Bertram — let us telegraph to Austin that we know 
he has been concealing something from us, and that we 
want to hear the worst !' 

' Ladies, I assure you 'began the inspector. 

My dear, I see no reason why you should imagine that 
Mr. Sinclair has kept back the worst from you. On the 
contrary, his letter was exceedingly frank — not only frank, 
but sensible and businesslike. He told you plainly the 
position which the arrest placed him in, as far as he could 
ascertain it, at the moment ; and to-day he telegraphs, 
repeating that he can soon dispose of the entire ridiculous 

' Yes, but I know he has done that out of thoughtfulness !' 
persisted Miss Adela Knollys. 

Well, it was abominable, reflected the inspector, if this 
young gentleman, Mr. Sinclair, were being detained in 
custody without sufficient cause. To stop a man on sus- 
picion when he was leaving the country might be one thing, 
but to keep him like that when they had had plenty of time 
to examine the circumstances against him was quite another, 
especially looking to the exhaustive character of his (Byde's) 
own reports, and the hints he had therein furnished. Another 
case of ' appearances,' he supposed. ' Appearances !' He 
detested the term. They could be so easily invented, fabri- 
cated, or maliciously combined — appearances ! Yes, he 
would certainly do whatever he could to wind this case up 
sharp, and to help that young gentleman in bringing forward 
his proofs. It was no fault of his (Byde's) that the young 
lady before him was attractive. 

' Mr. Byde ' implored the young lady. 

He would help him. And if the arrest had been an error 
■ — another good blow at the impressionists ! 

' You will be candid with me, won't you, Mr. Byde ?' 

Thus beset, the inspector unscrupulously took refuge in 


the fluent phrases of the hopeful friend. So far as positive 
information went, he really did not know that for the 
moment he had anything to impart which could in the 
slightest degree affect Mr. Austin Sinclair prejudicially ; he 
might go further, and say that certain researches upon 
which he, together with an extremely able colleague — De- 
tective Toppin, stationed permanently in Paris by Scotland 
Yard — was at this very minute actively engaged, might not 
impossibly procure the unconditional release of Mr. Sinclair 
before the expiration of another fortnight — or, perhaps, ten 
days — perhaps less. A long time? Yes, it did seem long, 
no doubt ; but we must not be impatient. We must be 
patient. Things were seldom done well which were done 
over-quickly . And then at any instant fresh intelligence might 
reach him from London. For all he knew Mr. Sinclair was 
triumphantly establishing his utter ignorance of the Park 
Lane diamond robbery while they — he, Mr. Byde, and the 
two ladies with whom he cordially sympathised — were now 
conversing on that very spot. Of course the connection of 
Mr. Sinclair with the diamond robbery was absurd, prepos- 
terous, a totally untenable hypothesis — of course ! How 
could it be ? Why, it could not possibly be ! Mr. Sinclair 
would soon be discharged, for want of evidence. The only 
conceivable witness against him was the man who had since 
been murdered : he asked pardon for putting the case in a 
rather hard, practical manner, but that was the way in 
which it would be put by the authorities over there, and it 
was best to look at the least favourable aspect of matters 
like this now, wasn't it ? Why, yes. Therefore, we must 
be patient. We must repose our faith in justice, and trust 
to the right arm of the law. As for Mr. Stanislas Wilmot, 
who laid false informations with malice aforethought, and 
to compass private objects deliberately sent the Department 
astray, that gentleman might be called on for an explanation 
of his conduct, and for redress ; and it might be worth while 
instituting some inquiries as to the history of the Hatton 
Garden firm, the nature of its transactions, and a good deal 
more. Diamond ' faking ' had been managed pretty exten- 
sively for some time past. The Department had not yet 
hit upon the precise source of the larger ' faked ' diamonds 
that had been passed off on buyers ; but they were on the 
look-out for diamond merchants with laboratories attached 


to their domiciles or business premises. These yellow Cape 
stones, treated with chemicals so as to appear brilliants of 
the purest water, had been turning up too often lately ; and 
Mr. Stanislas Wilmot might find occasion one of these days 
to regret that he had drawn upon himself the notice of Scot- 
land Yard. 

Miss Knollys apparently deemed it not incompatible with 
consistency to inveigh anew against her guardian, and, in 
the same breath, to plead for him very earnestly with In- 
spector George Byde. Her interposition to the latter effect 
completed the surrender of Detective Toppin's colleague. 
He could only respond with a few more soothing aphorisms 
and sanguine pledges. 

Mrs. Bertram said that they had purposely deferred their 
dinner-hour that evening in order to be able to make their 
call at the inspector's address. Would Mr. Byde do her 
the pleasure of returning to dine at the Avenue Marceau ? 
The inspector hastily excused himself, at once explaining 
the urgency of the situation. It might be that he had 
already lingered too long ; but the anxiety of persons inti- 
mately concerned in the welfare of Mr. Austin Sinclair was 
of course quite explicable, and it gratified him beyond mea- 
sure to have gained the confidence of ladies who — of ladies 
that — of ladies whom — ladies, in short, whom it was a real 
pleasure to serve. 

' Oh yes, we have the greatest confidence in you — the 
very greatest !' came from the shadowy form in the Cim- 
merian corner. Did he understand that Mr. Sinclair had 
telegraphed during the afternoon — in good spirits? In 
excellent spirits, replied the elder lady; it would be 'all 
right,' he believed, in a day or two : and that signified a 
great deal, from what she knew of Mr. Sinclair. He was 
not at all inclined to take either optimist or pessimist views 
of events ; he looked at a matter steadily, weighed every- 
thing on both sides, and then gave you just what he thought 
about it ; although it might be that in a case like this— yes, 
she would not say it was impossible — he might have de- 
parted from his custom, out of consideration for them both. 
It might be that he had assumed this cheerfulness in order 
to spare them the increased alarm which an exact state- 
ment of his position might excite in them. 

' We'll prove an alibi for him,' cried the inspector gaily. 


Could the speaker be George Byde, of the V Division I 
Such frivolity as this in an allusion to a grave affair — such 
an astounding indifference to principle ! A sad, a melan- 
choly outlook, if scientific methods were to be employed to 
serve impressionism ! 

' Whatever happens,' urged Mrs. Bertram, as the inspector 
turned to see if Mr. Toppin and Brother Neel were still 
waiting at the hotel entrance, ' you would not leave Paris 
without paying us a visit, I trust ?' 

Mr. Byde promised to do his utmost, whatever happened, 
to make a visit, though perhaps a brief one, at the Avenue 
Marceau. But much would depend upon the occurrences 
of the next twelve hours. He had unexpected indications 
with respect to the present whereabouts of the missing 
property itself, and he could not pronounce whether, at this 
time on the following day, he should be on French soil at 

' Oh, really /' exclaimed both ladies in breathless admi- 

Might be across the frontier to-morrow : might be on the 
other side of the Channel again. Mr. Byde began to fidget ; 
he had stayed too long. 

' Might have to leave at once for Amsterdam,' he added, 
as he bade his visitors adieu — 'or by first train for 

' Oh, how clever you must be 1' said Mrs. Bertram. 

' Thank you so much,' issued in a tremulous tone from 
the corner beyond. 

The profile suddenly re-emerged from the deep shadow, 
and a gloved hand advanced towards the inspector. He 
took the slender hand mechanically in his own broad palm, 
and pressed the yielding fingers, whose warmth faintly 
penetrated through their glove, just as he used to press the 
wasted fingers of his own little daughter, May — when every 
morning the poor child begged him to come back soon and 
read some more of the story to her at her bedside : the bed- 
side to which he had one day returned to burst into a flood 
of tears. 

The carriage rolled away, and the inspector, struck down 
by a reminiscence, stood motionless at the edge of the pave- 
ment, staring vacantly before him. As there was no object 
that could be discerned in the obscurity by Detective Toppim 


whose eyes were younger than those of his superior officer, 
that zealous representative of the English police concluded 
that his colleague was a gay old dog, and half made his 
mind up to be facetious with him. 

' Aha, inspector ! — would you — would you !' he had a 
good mind to say to him — ' That's how you carry on when 
you come over to Paris, inspector, is it? Til tell Scotland 
Yard about you ! And a married man, too ! Aha— aha ! 
Go along with you, you monster ! Has ladies drive up in 
their carriages to see him at his hotel, and gets that fetched 
by them that he's struck all of a heap, he is !' 

Mr. Toppin more than half resolved to step up to the 
inspector and accost him in this friendly strain. Perhaps, 
on the whole, he had better not, he reflected ; the inspector 
mightn't like it, all things considered. No, it would be 
better to take no notice of the circumstance ; he'd pretend 
he hadn't been looking that way at all. 

It was with an air of strictly professional deference that 
Mr. Thomas Toppin greeted his colleague, when the latter, 
shaking off that cruel arrow from the quiver of the past, 
turned to resume the work of Inspector Byde. Brother 
Neel had been fretting impatiently ; which Mr. Toppin 
regarded as but natural, being himself quite ready for his 

In silence they proceeded to the Bue de Compicgne, 
Hotel des Nations. As they halted at this establishment. 
Detective Toppin reminded his superior officer that he might 
count upon his, Toppin's, assistance in the task of cross- 
examining the Anarchist. ' As safe as houses, it's the 
Anarchist,' repeated Mr. Toppin. 

' Just tell me the number of your apartment here,' said 
Mr. Byde to their companion. 

' My apartment is No. 21,' answered Brother Neel, some- 
what loftily. 

' We should like to glance over your register for the past 
week,' observed the inspector to the lady-president of the 
bureau. ' We have been expecting friends, and very likely 
they have stopped here, on passing through.' 

The book was duly placed before them by the fascinating 
widowed Parisian spinster, whose nods and becks and 
wreathed smiles diminished with abruptness at the spectacle 
of Mr. Toppin's obduracy. The inspector ran his finger 


down the names inscribed along the pages since the arrival 
of Brother Neel. 

' There's a handwriting that looks as if it were disguised,' 
he remarked to his subordinate, indicating one of the more 
recent entries. 

' So it does,' concurred his subordinate. 

Brother Neel, who chafed quite noticeably under the 
restraint imposed upon him, was for adjourning to his 
apartment ' to procure some I.O.T.A. documents,' while the 
two gentlemen from Scotland Yard were searching the hotel 
register. He muttered that he would rejoin them in a 
moment, with the documents in question, and in his impatience, 
had begun to ascend the staircase before the inspector could 
arrest his progress. 

Mr. Byde called him back in a peremptory manner, and, 
speaking with greater sternness than he had hitherto 
employed, told the temperance lecturer in an undertone that 
if he did not wish to force them into disagreeable measures 
he would do well to consider himself no longer free to act as 
he might choose. Although not formally in custody, for the 
time being he was morally their prisoner. Circumstances 
might bring to a speedy termination the existing unpleasant 
state of affairs ; but in the meantime Brother Neel must not 
delude himself. Until he might be requested by the 
inspector, or by the colleague acting with him, to procure 
from his apartment any documents relating to the I.O.T.A., 
he would be good enough to forget the I.O.T.A., so far as 
the case at present occupying their close attention was 
concerned. It might or might not become necessary to 
search Brother Neel's apartment, No. 21. He would 
doubtless aid them usefully in searching it. He could not 
be permitted, however, to make a visit to the apartment in 

' But if you suspect that man — that Anarchist man,' 
objected Brother Neel, with a slight trace of uneasiness. 
' you don't suppose that he has chosen my room for the 
concealment of anything ?' 

' Oh, come, sir — pray don't argue our inquiry for us. Do 
as I beg of you, please !' 

Brother Neel slowly retraced his steps. 

The handwriting to which the inspector had referred, 
undoubtedly, as Toppin now commented, bore the appear-. 


ance of having been laboriously disguised. The characters 
all leant backwards. In the particulars which set forth that 
the subject of the entry — a young gentleman of a by no 
rneansunfamiliarpatronymic — was of English nationality, and 
was travelling northwards, from the Mediterranean, without 
a passport, there were ' r's,' ' s's,' and ' t's,' in considerable 
abundance. From whatever cause — through inadvertence 
or haste ; hardly by design— the ' r's ' and ' t's ' had been 
formed in two different manners, whilst the ' s's ' looked 
suspiciously elaborate, and the capital letters, also, seemed 
either crude or florid to excess. 

' Whenever you like, about that Anarchist,' said Mr. 
Toppin. ' I know enough to make out that it's on the 
business of his lodge we want to see him.' 

Mr. Byde politely addressed himself to the ex-'Parisienne.' 
She had ensconced herself within the stifling boundaries of 
her bureau, and was doing her best to show her contempt 
for three booby foreigners who could not summon up 
responsive glances for a still handsome woman — was she 
not still handsome ? Parbleu ! Handsome enough for 
stupid English, whose wives and daughters had projecting 
upper teeth, large feet, and not an inch of padding inside 
their clothes where padding ought to be ! She bit her lips 
as Mr. Byde respectfully pushed open the door of the 
asphyxiating bureau ; bit them well to make them once 
more ripely red — irresistible perdition, as her last admirer, 
the Baron X., who absconded with her savings, used to 
madly say — and she smiled upon the timorous intruder with 
the winning grace, the encouraging tenderness, that resides 
in wrinkles along a sheet of parchment. 

Mr. Byde rather fancied, he began with a flattering show 
of embarrassment, that this entry — or the other, just below 
it — might refer to one of the friends whom they were 
anxious to encounter during their passage through Paris. 
The name in one case, at least, appeared to indicate the 
fact — that name, there, in the curious handwriting, all 
backward ; it was no uncommon name, to be sure, but at 
the same time, if the gentleman was — how was he, now, in 
point of age ? 

Oh, that ? That was No. 19, believed the lady-president, 
affably scanning the virile features of Inspector Byde. In 
one second, one little second only, she could make sure of 
the fact by a reference to her own book. 


Number 19? And Brother Neel's apartment was the 
adjoining chamber, No. 21 ! 

Yes, it was as she had supposed, continued the quondam 
idol of the Baron X. The person in question occupied the 
No. 19. An invalid. Young. Had arrived in Paris by an 
early morning train, and was too feeble in health to quit his 
room. Tres comme-il-faut ; had behaved most generously in 
the matter of gratuities — at least the elderly gentleman, his 
friend, had behaved, on his behalf, very generously : because 
the elderly gentleman was relieving the shattered young 
invalid of all the trouble incident upon travelling, and had 
given in the first place all the necessary orders for him. 
Bid monsieur think it might be his own acquaintance, this 
young gentleman who was ill ? 

Inspector Byde really shrank from again disturbing made- 
moiselle, but — — 

Comment clone, cher monsieur ! — mais, comment clone ! 
Was she not there to answer the queries of visitors like 
monsieur ? How she regretted that monsieur had not 
addressed himself earlier to the bureau for information ! If 
she could have known, when monsieur called before, that he 
was seeking for some friends who had most likely stopped 
at the hotel — what an unfortunate oversight ! It would 
have been so easy just to cast her eye through the register, 
and to save monsieur from unnecessary displacements — ■ 
seeing that he had doubtless been engaged in inquiries for 
his acquaintance with the ordinary name ; which would of 
course involve journeys and calls, though not outside the 
limits of the neighbourhood, if the acquaintance of monsieur 
were known to have determined to descend at some hotel in 
the vicinity of the Northern Terminus — it would have been 
so simple to have directed monsieur to this very No. 19, 
which was, tenez, just the next room to the large chamber 
tenanted by Monsieur Nill Id ! 

The inspector resumed, in his very best composite French, 
that he was ddsoU — no, but, clcsoU positively — to intrude and 
thus monopolise the valuable time which mademoiselle 

' Ah, monsieur — too happy ' 

* Which, mademoiselle, clont la gracieuseU ' 

' Oh, monsieur !' 

And empressement and kindly igards, joined to — might he 
say it — ahem ! — charms of manner and 


h— h— h! 

A most superior man — oh, truly, a man of quite superioi 
qualities ! He could not be an English, like the clod who 
stood in the vestibule out there, his companion. Now she 
looked at him, this one was certainly the better of the two ; 
and how could she have passed him over ? About the middle- 
age, this one, she should imagine : widower, from the soft- 
ness of the sidelong glance : rich ? 

Why, there were even visitors at this actual moment in 
the No. 19, she responded to the question with which the 
inspector at length wound up — yes, visitors who had come 
to dinner with the young gentleman who was ill. There 
were — let us see how many — two, yes, two visitors to the 
occupant of No. 19 ; and they had been here some little 
time, seeing that covers for the three had been ordered for 
service in the apartment itself upstairs, at the time they 
were preparing to serve their table d'hote downstairs, at 
6.30. Would monsieur wish to send up a message to the 
No. 19, or possibly to go and see them? It would be so 
easy just to go and see : and even though they should not 
prove to be the acquaintances of monsieur — when you were 
compatriots, n'est-ce pas ? Perhaps, however, monsieur was 
not himself an English ? 

Mr. Byde answered rather absently that Britain was in 
fact his nation. Before his mental vision had loomed indis- 
tinctly the letters ' Q. E. E.' A choice of courses lay before 
him: which should he decide upon? ' Q. E. E.!' What 
magic in those characters ! He tasted his triumphs in 
advance ; in advance, he tasted his repose ; he saw himself 
already back in Camberwell; already blissful, on a well- 
earned leave of absence ; already lolling in his own arm- 
chair, with a long clay pipe in his left hand— oh, for a whiff 
at a sweet long clay ! and oh, for a draught of that brown 
old ale — whilst within prehensory distance of his right 
would lie the battered and discarded school books of his 
boy. Mild was the effulgence of the inspector's eye. 
Picturing again those evening classes at the Institute 
(corner of the Terrace), dreamily he smiled. 

The ex-beauty — alas ! she had never abdicated, she had 
been deposed, and it was long ago — resolved that for that 
smile, and for that look, the wealthy widower might be par- 
doned his nationality. He would undoubtedly ' ask her/ 



if he got into the way of coming to the hotel. She should 
say — yes. Well, why not ? Had she not once had her 
apartment in the Avenue de Villiers ; had she not once been 
the typical Parisienne (whose parents lived in the country) , 
and had not one of the boulevard journals once rapturously 
described one of her midsummer toilettes, the description 
having been loyally paid for, notwithstanding the exorbitant 

Which of the two courses ought he to follow ? mused Mr. 
Byde, turning towards the glass partition, through which he 
could contemplate the physiognomy of Brother Neel. 

Either a bachelor, or a widower, or divorced from his 
wife, that was unmistakable, argued the dowager Parisienne, 
ex-queen of so many emigrated subjects — some of whom 
had been quite respectable members of the aristocracy. 
Bich, also, he must no doubt be. All these insulaires were 
rich ; and the richest were those who pretended to be poor. 
If he hadn't been unattached, he wouldn't have looked at 
her like that ; because it was an earnest, serious look — 
from the heart, she thought : bah, why not ? — the sort of 
look she had often slighted in the past ; a very different sort 
of article from that other look she had likewise frequently 
encountered in the past, without frequently slighting it, the 
furtive, but, oh ! quite comprehensible scintillation from the 
insurrectionary helot of the marriage vow She should say 
• — yes ! Then she would find out the whereabouts of the 
Baron X. He had always adored her ; and for his conduct 
there was every excuse — he had never been accustomed to 
be short of money. And if he had absconded with her 
savings, which had rolled up to a goodly sum — an unclean 
heap, like a huge miry snowball — had she not begun it ? 
Had she not in the first place relieved him of the financial 
remnant left him by her predecessors — angels who by no 
happy lot could ever be entertained unawares, their enter- 
tainment involving riot and disorder, and their pampered 
appetites rejecting banquets of unleavened bread. She had 
plunged him into irredeemable debt, and after a time he had 
grown tired of living upon her mere bounty : or — no, it 
would be impossible that he should have eloped with some- 
one else ! Wasn't there every excuse for him ? And he 
Was a real, real baron — no rastaquouere ! When she had said 
' Yes,' she would find him out ; and how they would enjoy 


themselves -with the money of this English — who, after all, 
did not seem to have more than six — mettons sixteen — 
words to say for himself ! Stupid, after all, everyone of 
them, these insulars ! All the better ! She would have no 
difficulties to vanquish — and if he came back to the hotel for 
a few days ! And even supposing he should be married 
already in his own land ? Was a Parisienne to be with- 
stood ? A little divorce case, with the wife as the petitioner, 
would end quite nicely for herself and for the Baron X. She 
bit her lower lip savagely, and smiled to show its redness off 
against her even teeth ; forgetting that the path of time is 

What on earth could she be smiling at — this good lady ? 
wondered the inspector. 

He had decided upon his plan of action. Benjamin should 
be extricated from his compromising situation, if it could 
be done decently. The old boy might or might not have 
been mixed up actively in this affair ; but he would try and 
bring him off, unless the old boy had gone too far. The 
inspector fancied there was not much room for doubt as to 
the identity of the three persons now carousing in the 
apartment No. 19. Ah, he should soon affix ' Q. B. B.' to 
the foot of the problem ! 

And it was in his most business-like manner — with an air 
which immediately took a story from the superstructure of 
the castle run up hastily in Spain — that the inspector ven- 
tured to request mademoiselle dont Vamabiliti, etc., to send 
up to the No. 19 with a message. If one of the two visitors 
were a M. de Bingham, by hazard, there was a gentleman 
downstairs who desired to see him on insurance business, a 
gentleman from the Boulevard Haussmann. 

While the commission was being executed, Mr. Byde and 
his two companions sought out quiet places in the dining- 
room. It was perhaps a proof of the inspector's absorption 
in his task that he allowed Mr. Thomas Toppin to direct 
their repast. Mr. Toppin had not borne the delay with the 
best grace in the world. How far could Byde have gone 
with this inquiry, he would like to know, if he, Toppin, had 
not been at his elbow ? And here was Byde, in spite of his 
fine promises, keeping him down, as they all did with young 
fellows of promise, these men who had succeeded, when they 
found they had the young fellow of promise under their orders* 



Byde meant to keep him out of it, now it came to the pinch, 
although the key to this unexpected puzzle in the affair had 
positively been supplied by Toppin himself. 

' Let me know when I am to interrogate the Anarchist for 
you,' pronounced Toppin majestically. 

' D n the Anarchist,' said his superior officer. 

' The Anarchist ? D n the Anarchist ?' 

'Yes, d n the Anarchist; the Anarchist be d d !' 

replied the inspector tranquilly ; plagiarising from his miscel- 
laneous reading a famous anathema once launched against 
the Queen of Carthage, daughter of Belus, King of Tyre. 

'The Anarchist? Why, I thought ' Mr. Toppin's 

heart swelled in his bosom. No, it was not this case that 
would give him his chance — he should have to wait for 
another, he could clearly see. Another sensational robbery 
or murder, of direct interest to the British public? Ah, they 
were not so common, and he might wait a very long time 
before he could come across a case like this. It was hard. 
Young fellows of promise could get no chance. And the 
lack of enterprise about the criminal classes was enough to 
disgust you with your profession. A lot of idle, loafing 
vagabonds, the criminals of the present day ! They had no 
enterprise, no energy. They wasted nearly all their time ! 
Mr. Toppin served the soup in an extremely dismal fashion, 
and broke his bread as if it were a rope he was endeavour- 
ing to pull asunder. 

The Vicomte de Bingham, nd Byers, appeared at the 
portals of the dining-room, and looked about him for the 
gentleman who had called from the Boulevard Haussmann 
on insurance business. As he stood there, with his head 
back, an after-dinner satisfaction upon his cheery counten- 
ance, and with his left hand gently stroking his chin, he 
looked a very honest, comfortable, dignified grandpa, who 
liked a glass of good Burgundy, and who had just been 
discussing two or three. 

' I love that old man,' commented the inspector, within 
himself. He signalled to Mr. Bingham, and grandpa ap- 
proached. ' Not the movement of an eyelash, I'll take my 
oath,' continued the inspector mentally — ' and yet to see the 
three of us together, he must guess the game's all up. 
"What an artist ! No I can't, I mustn't hurt him !' 

Grandpa met the crisis like an artist, verily. Astonish- 


rnent — none ! Chagrin — none ! Alarm — demoralization ? 
Not the minutest atom. He saluted with a tact in differentia- 
tion that was really exquisite : cordial warmth, towards the 
inspector ; towards Brother Neel, a meek urbanity ; for 
Toppin, ceremonious recognition. They had all risen. 

' Vicomte,' said the inspector, ' a word with you.' 

He led the new-comer to a side table. 

Detective Toppin could scarcely believe his ears. Vicomte ! 
How was it possible that this old swell should be mixed up 
with the inquiry ! Vicomte ? He did not recognise him as 
a secret agent of the French police ! 

Oh, Byde was going all wrong ! Well, let him go wrong, 
then : he, Thomas Toppin, had had enough of trying to put 
him right ! A pretty muddle Byde would land the case in. 
He'd end by getting himself ' taken ' — he would ! — that's 
how he'd end. That Hy, at the Prefecture, would have him 
'taken,' 'ere nom! The mirth with which this prospect 
filled him, Toppin would have longed to share with Brother 
Keel. They awaited silently the inspector's return ; Brother 
Neel exhibiting a stony indifference to all that might be 
done and said. 

' Benjamin,' began Mr. Byde, as they sat out of earshot, 
' get out of this while you've time.' 

' Dear me ! what can you be alluding to, old friend ?' 

Mr. Bingham gazed about him as though he had been 
warned against an imminent conflagration — as though he 
thought the flames might just be bursting through the walls. 

'There's the Paris Directory just behind you; reach 
it over for me, there's a good fellow.' Mr. Bingham 
obligingly complied with the request. ' You have not been 
quite candid with me, Benny,' observed the inspector, as he 
turned the leaves ; ' but of course we both know what 
things are. Look here,' he proceeded, indicating the section 
Courtiers en Bijouterie-Imitation — ' under the B's of the 
dealers in imitation diamonds, etc, I find the name of 
Bingham, Rue des Petits Champs !' 

' Yes, yes,' acquiesced grandpa, ' that's myself.' 

' You didn't tell me that you combined that business with 
your insurance agency.' 

' Bless me — I believe that, now you mention it, I did 
forget that portion of my business. Oh. — a trifle, a mere 
nothing 1 Market not overgood,' 


' The stuff you deal in isn't like the market, then.' 
Inspector Byde took a small object out of his waistcoat- 
pocket and handed it to Mr. Bingham. ' My compliments, 
Benny. First-rate !' 

Grandpa received the object imperturbably, and examined 

' Yes, those are my goods,' said he ; ' pretty near the real 
thing, hey ? Cost of production low, too.' 

' I borrowed it from your office when you went out in a 
hurry to insure that life.' 

' Ah, yes — yes ! Strange thing if you hadn't put your 
hand on something or other. Can't leave you Scotland 
Yard gentlemen alone for half a minute ; must go ' lifting ' 
something ! Dare say you thought it was the real com- 
modity ?' 

' I'm glad for your sake, Benny, it was not. We've got 
to find the originals, you know — the originals— and I'm glad 
for your sake that this was only a fair specimen of the 
substituted gentlemen.' 

' Good product, isn't it !' returned grandpa, closing one 
eye as he again examined the imitation brilliant restored to 
him. ' Sample of some new work.' 

' Well, now — where are the originals, Benny ?' 

' My dear Byde, what on earth can you be talking about ?' 

' Well, I won't press you, Benjamin. I know what things- 
are. But satisfy me on this point : suppose we searched 
you now — here — should we find a single genuine ' 

' Not one,' responded Mr. Bingham with alacrity, ' not 
one, even set in a ring. And you can either take my word 
for it or make your search.' 

' Very well. Now, if you take my advice you won't 
rejoin your friends upstairs.' 

' I think I should like just to step upstairs, and wish them 
good evening — not to be uncivil, don't you know — little 
business visit — take leave ' 

' What ivas your business with them, Benny, in case of 
very awkward questions, hereafter; what was your little 
business ?' 

' Insurance — lives ' 

* Bad lives ; one, at any rate, if our information can be 
relied upon. I think you had better not rejoin them, 
Benny ?' 


The inspector's tone and manner were decidedly signifi- 
cant. Mr. Bingham hesitated, shot a keen glance at his old 
friend, began a response, and then checked himself. The 
look upon his pleasant visage was no longer cheery. 

' Not ?' said he. 

' I think not,' answered the inspector. * I have got to go 
and see them.' 

' Oh, well ; if you think -! All right, then. I don't 


' Come and talk to our friends, until I return,' suggested 
the inspector, ending the colloquy. 

They went back to the dinner-table, and apparently wound 
up an important conference on the character of certain con- 
tinental banks. The inspector blamed his companions for 
awaiting him. He then filled a very small glass with 
brandy, swallowed the contents, and said he did not expect 
to be very long detained upstairs. 


The inspector had gone as far as the door, when he stopped, 
partially retraced his steps, and beckoned Mr. Toppin 
towards him. That zealous and active officer obeyed the 
summons with promptitude. 

' Give me a quarter of an hour,' said the inspector to his 
subordinate. ' If I don't return by a quarter of an hour 
from now ' — they both looked at the large clock over tha 
mantelpiece — ' come for me to No. 19 — second floor.' 

' Danger ?' asked Toppin, in better spirits. 

' Shouldn't think so ; but in case ' 

' What am I to do with this man, No. 21, the temperance 

' Either call in a policeman, show your credentials, and 
hand him over to the Erench authorities without any more 
fuss, or — yes, this will be the better course — tell my old 
friend there, the Vicomte, that it's my express wish that 
he should remain with Neel until one of us comes back. 
The Vicomte will understand it, and he'll never leave him. 
Yes, that will be the better course. We may as well keep 
the affair in our own hands. The French police can do what 
they like with the murder case ; but we don't want to have 


them meddling with the diamond robbery, which is strictly 
our business, Toppin.' 

' Just so,' assented Toppin, in still better spirits ; ' our 
business entirely. I am quite of your opinion.' 

' Then, in fifteen, or, say, twenty minutes from now.' 

The inspector resumed his journey through the vestibule, 
to the foot of the staircase. As he slowly ascended the two 
flights of stairs, he summed up the eventual aspects of the 
Park Lane inquiry. There was absolutely no evidence 
against anyone. There were presumptions — oh, any num- 
ber of presumptions, likelihoods, and contingent ' moral 
certitudes ' — but when it came to finding the numerical 
values, as you might say, of these expressions, how the 
deuce were you to work them out ? The inspector wished 
he could have brought his son Edgar with him, on this inves- 
tigation. How that boy would have set to work upon his 
simultaneous equations of the first degree, with more than 
two unknown quantities ! 

Whether or not he succeeded presently, where was the 
case he could take into court ? What connected the dead 
man, Eemington, with the diamond robbery at old Stanislas 
Wilmot's residence in Park Lane ? Young Mr. Sinclair, and 
the butler of the house, supposed to be the possible con- 
federates of the deceased might be held to connect him with 
it. Yes ; and young Mr. Sinclair would prove an alibi, very 
likely ; and the butler, if apparently implicated, could get 
out of the position in a thousand ways, clearing the character 
of the deceased at the same time as he effected his own 
extrication. Suppose he, Byde, obtained possession of 
loose diamonds which would answer to the description of 
the property abstracted from the strong-room in Park Lane? 
"Who was going to swear to them in court ? Would Stan- 
islas Wilmot, Esq., get into the witness-box and swear to 
the identity of the stones produced ? Not exactly — to the 
satisfaction of the twelve good men and true. It reminded 
him of a trial he had once looked on at, in the Midlands. 
He must relate that story to his subordinate, when he 
rejoined him downstairs. With regard to the Wilmot 
diamond robbery, there was no mistake about it — he had no 

It did not follow that, because he had no case, he had no 
prospect of recovering the actual Wilmot property. Eor he 


certainly believed by this time that the property stolen 
from the Park Lane house were genuine diamonds, of the 
value represented. Any lingering doubt upon the subject 
might perhaps be dispelled by careful search of Brother 
Neel's luggage. He felt certain that the temperance lec- 
turer had ' sweated ' the contents of the black velvet 
diamond case, that a brilliant or two — or three — or four — 
might be discovered in some corner of that gentleman's 
portmanteau, or in the lining of some garment, newly sewn. 
It was just possible that he was on the right track of the 
missing valuables ; but he did not see a tangible case for a 
jury, so far. When he, took cases into court he got convic- 
tions. It was his reputation for always clinching the 
evidence, all round, that had made his failure in that great 
temperance prosecution so terrible a blow. He could not 
risk his credit this time on the flimsiest of circumstantial 
claims. He'd get the property back, and ask no questions. 

And Brother Neel, of the I.O.T.A. ! Was he, Byde, to 
lose this precious opportunity of wiping out that blunder 
which these temperance people brought up on the least 
occasion? He had hoped to hit them very hard indeed 
through Brother Neel. 

Would he not be justified in indicating Brother Neel to 
the French police ? Let him go and tell them such a tale as 
he had told Inspector Byde that evening, in the presence of 
Toppin ! What would the Surete here think about it, and 
what would be their practical response ? Ha ! — a pretty 
narrative, would be their comment, to explain the possession 
of an object which had avowedly been taken from the 
murdered man ! Well — did he, George Byde, of the V 
Division, believe that narrative? To be quite frank upon 
the matter — hang it, bias apart ! — yes, he did. 

Brother Neel had stated that he could furnish no detail 
tending to identify the murderer ; and it redounded to his 
credit, thought the inspector, that he had committed himself 
to nothing which might inculpate another individual, 
although he must have entertained suspicions, however 
slight, coinciding with those entertained by the inspector. 
Besides, if he, George Byde, should one of these days find 

it feasible to cancel that sign with that + , he wished to 

do it unassisted, with his own weapons, in a straightforward 
way. He did not want his colleagues, anywhere, to strike 


his retaliatory blow for hirn. It would be sweet to strike 
that blow, mused this vindictive inspector, of Division V — 
very sweet, afterwards, to quote Coriolanus to Aufidius, 
though not to die immediately thereupon. 

Number 19. The inspector used no ceremony. There 
was the handle of the door ; he turned the handle, pushed 
the door open, stepped across the threshold, and closed the 
door again behind him. The two occupants of the room 
were lounging in easy-chairs before the hearth ; and from 
the cigars they held screwed into the corners of their mouths 
ascended thin blue wreaths of an exceeding fragrance. 

' Well, who was your friend, Byers?' demanded Sir John, 
with a patronising drawl. Neither he nor his companion 
turned, or looked up, as the door closed. 

' Grandpa's particular, that he's engaged to, I'll lay a 
thousand,' observed Mr. Finch — ' oh, the forward young 
woman !' 

' Now, my lads,' began the inspector briskly ; and at the 
sound of his voice they both sprang from their seats — ' I 
dare say you both know me, !' 

Sir John muttered an oath, pitched his cigar into the fire- 
place, and gathered himself together with an unmistakable 
air of menace. The violence of his movement had been 
such that the cigar scattered the white ashes along the side 
of the log-fire. 

' Do ymo know the gentleman, Alfred ?' inquired Mr. 
Finch innocently. 

' Not I !' growled his companion with another oath. 

' Blest if J do !' proceeded Mr. Finch. ' Made a mistake 
in the room, sir, ain't you ?' 

' Now what's this game, my lads ?' went on the inspector. 
' Come, out with it ! — You, Vine, stay where you are ! 
Don't you advance another step. I've come prepared for 
you !' 

'Be quiet, Alfred — stand back,' urged Mr. Finch mildly — 
'I'm sure this gentleman isn't a robber.' 

' To what do we owe the pleasure ' demanded Sir 

John, his face set, and his steady gray eyes shining very 

' Ah, I see you know what I've come about,' said the 
inspector sternly. ' You, Bartholomew Finch, alias Walker, 
I've not had you through my hands yet ; but be pareful how 


you behave. As for you, Ernest Vine, alias Grainger, I 
remember you well enough, and you remember me. It 
depends upon your conduct at this instant where you pass 
the night. Now, then, be straightforward, and save me 
trouble. If you are straightforward, I dare say wo can 
give you a fresh start. If you fence, you are in the 
custody of the French police to-night, as sure as you're 

' Why, now I look at him it is — it's Mr, Byde ! Beg 
pardon, Mr. Byde, sir, didn't recognise you.' 

Mr. Finch uttered these words with the most convincing 
air of pleased surprise. 

' In the custody of the French police ? On what charge, 
I should like to know ?' 

' The charge of murder.' 

' Murder !' echoed Sir John, with a defiant laugh, but his 
voice faltering. ' Why, you are joking with us !' 

' Yes, that's it,' said Mr. Finch cheerfully — ' he's joking, 

Mr. Byde is — ha ! ha ! A d d queer joke, though, 


' And a dangerous joke, I give you the tip !' In Sir 

John's extremity, the genteel veneer which ladies nearly 
always took for good breeding disappeared. The ruffian 
suddenly asserted himself. ' Murder — eh ?' said he with a 
ferocious sneer. ' And where's the victim ?' 

' The victim lies at the Morgue,' replied the inspector 
rapidly. ' Once more, stay where you are, or I'll bring you 
down ! — You travelled in the night-mail from London with 
him — and with me. You followed him from place to place 
until you got to Amiens. Just after leaving Creil you 
climbed along the footboard of the carriage until you came 
to his compartment, and you shot him as he lay there 
dozing, and before he could defend himself. Then you 
took a packet from his breast-pocket. In that packet were 
loose diamonds, which can be identified. It's for those 
diamonds I've come to see you now, for I know they are in 
this room !' 

There was a pause. 

' This is pretty hot,' observed Mr. Finch. ' It's not true, 
Jack, is it ?' 

' True ? Haven't I told you just what happened ! The 
thing was done before I got there, and the pocket was 


empty. You'll bring me down, will you, Mr. Inspector 
Byde ? By — - I'll charge you with this murder myself ! 
I'll swear I saw you do it, and Bat here will back 
me up.' 

' Me ?' protested Mr. Finch — ' me ? No, sir — no 
perjury for Bartholomew ! Not for Bartholomew, Mr. 
Wilkins !' 

' No more of this nonsense,' pursued the inspector. 
' I'm sure of my witness, Vine. I've got the man who 
interrupted you.' The speaker flashed the look at Sir 
John, which, during his interview with Brother Neel, the 
latter had twice or thrice encountered. ' That temperance 
fellow told us the truth, by the Lord Harry !' was Mr. 
Byde's mental pronouncement. 

' That won't do,' returned Vine, alias Grainger, doggedly. 
' Lock me up if you're sure of your witness ; and we'll 
see what he'll prove. We'll charge your witness with it, 
that's how we'll reward your witness. Where's this pro- 
perty, then, you talk about ? Have I ever had it : is your 
witness going to prove that it, has ever been in my posses- 
sion ? Suppose we guessed at your witness ; suppose we 
told you where to put your hands upon the packet you're 
looking for ; suppose it was your witness who had put that 
packet in that place ; what sort of a case would be left to 
you, Mr. Inspector Byde, with your witness who knows all 
about it ? Ah ? — what sort of a case ?' 

' That's it !' approved Mr. Finch, winking with a very 
astute expression, and wagging his head. ' You're on the 
wrong scent, Mr. Byde, take my word for it, sir. Not but 
that I will not say — that— if — we liked to speak out — hey, 
Jack ?' 

' Yes — if we liked to speak out ' — echoed Sir John 

' We know what we have remarked, don't we, Jack ? 
We have formed certain suspicions — as to — certain 
parties ' 

' That travelled by the same train — a certain 
party ' 

' As had a good deal to say to the deceased — on the 

way down — a d d sight too much to say to be cocum, 

if you ask me ; and, ii my memory serves me ' — it was an 
air of enrapturing guilelessness, the air with which Finch, 


alias Walker, consulted his memory — ' yes, I did !— I made 
that observation to you at the moment, Ernest ?' 

' You did,' acquiesced Sir John; watching the inspector. 

' Give me the man that likes his two of gin,' proceeded 
Mr. Finch absently. ' These temperance Kaffirs 1 Wouldn't 
trust the king of them all with change for a sovereign! 
No, sir — not me ! That I wouldn't !' 

' Pretty nearly done ?' asked the inspector sharply. 
' Come to the point, my lads ; I've only got a few more 
minutes to give you. Out with that property. I don't 
want to know how you came by it ; I'll avoid putting any 
question, either now or hereafter, if you conduct yourselves 
like sensible lads ; but that property is in this room, and 
that property I must have. Now I know your school : you 
are boys from Tudor Street. Show yourselves worthy of 
your school — show yourselves lads of sense. You're licked 
to-day. Throw the sponge up !' 

' Shall we stand this, Bat ?' growled Vine, alias 

' My goodness me,' murmured Mr. Finch — ' I can't think 
what Mr. Byde's alludin' to !' 

' For the last time ' — went on the inspector very quietly 

■ — ' put those diamonds on that table ! In another 

minute you will be too late. My colleague, with the French 
police at his back, will be knocking at this door in another 
minute. You know what that means. It means that you 
are both searched on the spot, the room ransacked, too, and 
that you are both locked up in a French prison for putting 
that man out, and robbing him of the diamonds which 
we know he had in his possession. It's the guillotine for 
both of you — or, at least, they'll send you both away for 

' What have I done, Mr. Byde, sir ?' protested Mr. Finch. 

' What do I care ?' returned the inspector, with a sort of 
grim tranquillity. ' If, on the other hand, you behave sen- 
sibly, I give you my word I'll say no more about the matter. 
My business is to take that property back to England, and 
I intend to take it back. And that's all. You've been 
minding it for me, you understand. You were not the 
original thieves ; and what has happened upon French 
territory concerns the French.' 

'Jack,' observed Mr. Finch to his companion, 'very likely 


Mr. Byde is alludin' to that little parcel which we picked 
up in the street.' 

There was no answer. Vine, alias Grainger, and Inspector 
Byde stood looking at each other for an instant or two in 
silence. The one was manifestly weighing the chances of a 
sudden onslaught ; the other manifestly held himself prepared. 

' It won't pay you this time,' said the inspector at length 
simply. ' Another day, Vine.' 

' You know, Jack, that little parcel which we picked up 
while we were out walking on the bully vards.' 

' Byers, Bingham, or whatever he calls himself, has it,' 
replied Sir John sullenly. 

' He's in detention downstairs in case we want to search 
him. But I know what I am about ; and I begin with you. 
— Come !' 

Vine, alias Grainger, brusquely plunged his hand into 
a ready pocket — the deep breast-pocket of a loose frock 
coat. For a moment, in that attitude he stood immovable. 
. The suspense — -the gesture ? . On the countenances 
of the two spectators an identical thought called up oddly- 
contrasted expressions. It was Mr. Finch, however, who 
exhibited alarm. 

' Jack !' he shouted, in a tone of warning. 

Whether or not more than a single object lay within the 
dark recesses of that loose breast-pocket, the object which 
Sir John wrenched with an effort from its depths appeared 
to be not that which the two spectators had with differing 
sensations anticipated. His right hand grasped a canvas 
bag, tightly fastened, and he banged this ' little parcel ' on 
the table in front of him, as he had previously hurled into 
the log fire his unoffending, fragrant cigar. The contents 
emitted a slight rattle, like pebbles. Before an observation 
could be proffered, there was a knock at the door. 

' My colleague,' announced the inspector ; ' you see I told 
you the truth. We need not let him into our affairs, and he 
can wait outside.' 

He opened the door a little way; but it was not Mr. 
Toppin who had knocked. 

' Well 1' demanded the inspector gruffly, of the person 

A few French words ensued, of surly apology. Yes, re- 
turned the inspector, in his Bordeaux accent, the sick 


gentleman of No. 19 certainly was at that juncture engaged 
■with visitors ; go away, an<1 come back later ! The service 
of the apartment? It could not be attended to just then, 
the apartment : allez-vous-cu /aire voire service ailleurs. 
' Oh, there you are, Toppin,' added the inspector, as his 
colleague now approached along the corridor. ' Send this 
Anarchist savage about his business, and guard the en- 
trance. You needn't come in. I mustn't be disturbed for a 
little while.' 

Closing the door again behind him, he observed the precau- 
tion of turning the key in the lock inside. 

' That's in your interest, my lads,' he remarked, tapping 
the key. ' You ve shown your sense in being straight- 
forward, and I shall keep my word. It will be your own 
fault if you make my colleague's acquaintance.' 

Sir John moved back to the hearth, and sank into his 
easy-chair again. As he sat there, restlessly pulling at his 
moustache, and scowling at the pictures which his mind's 
eye imagined in the flames that sprang out fitfully from the 
half-charred logs, Inspector Byde advanced towards the 
round table, and picked up the securely-tied canvas bag. 
The inspector had to use his penknife, for the knots were 
perfectly Gordian. 

' A lucky thing we happened to be passing,' ventured Mr. 
Finch ; ' a lucky thing we happened to notice it. There it 
was, just lying on the pavement, the edge of the pavement ; 
and you wouldn't have thought it was anything at all ! I 
said to Jack, "Jack," I said, "what's that?" I said, 
" Looks like a tobacco-pouch," I said ; and Jack said ' 

The inspector poured forth the contents of the canvas 
bag. Oh, marvellous, indeed ! A blazing prism lay before 
him. One of the charred logs in the open fireplace gave 
way under the weight of fresher fuel, and from the new logs, 
hissing and crackling, a bright red flame shot up, broad, 
steady, and ardent. The dazzling heap of pebbles which 
the inspector had poured forth seemed to seize and intensify 
that sudden red flame — to break it up into innumerable 
sparks, vivid in their play of hue, and surely little short of 

' The genuine article, and no mistake,' ran Mr. Byde's 
mental comment ; ' what quality, and how they're cut ! 
Phew ! Not so big as to be identified easily, but, by the 


Lord Harry, quite big enough to go to Portland for ! And 
as to the value of the whole lot — under-estimated by forty 
per cent.! The old story. They do think that they are 
so clever, these people in the trade ! They think it's 
clever, some of them, to under-state their loss, in any case 
like this — they fancy they can get the property restored on 
easier terms from the thieves. Yes, when you can get the 
thieves into negotiations — nice and confidential negotiations 
— through some third person's third friend's third wife.' 

' And that's how it was we went and picked it up,' con- 
cluded Mr. Finch. ' Lucky we saw it. Somebody else 
might have come that way the very next minute, picked it 
up, and said nothing whatever about the discovery. Jack 
and I thought we'd advertise it. Best thing to do, wasn't 
it ? We were talking about an advertisement in the news- 
papers just when you called in. Lucky you called, Mr. 
Byde — being acquainted with the rightful owners. Ah, it's 
a load off my mind ! And it's quite upset poor old Jack, 
here !' 

The inspector counted the stones, and replaced them in 
the canvas bag. Having secured the little package to his 
satisfaction, he deposited it in one of his own pockets pro- 
tected with a row of buttons. 

4 Just come here a second, Pinch,' he then remarked, 'I 
want you to hold this candle for me.' 

Mr. Finch obeyed the request without any sign of wonder. 
Sir John, however, wheeled round in his chair, for an ex- 
planation of the words. The speaker had held one of the 
candlesticks above his head, and was now terminating a 
scrutiny of the entire apartment. He noted the three door- 
ways, the alcove, and the windows ; and oft and benignantly 
he nodded. And why ? Behind him lay the entrance from 
the corridor. In front of him were the windows ; to his 
immediate left stood the alcove and the hearth ; and, to the 
right and left of the windows were apparently doorways 
communicating with apartments upon each side, beyond. 

' Well, it was no guess-work — that I can truthfully say,' 
pronounced the inspector in a soft voice, and with a sigh of 
content ; ' it was a scientific process of induction.' 

' Ah,' ejaculated Mr. Finch, to show his politeness, in the 
brief pause that followed—' Ah, now ?' 

' Scientific induction did it 1' 


Mr. Finch wrinkled up his chin by effacing its angle, and 
turned to his confederate with a puzzled air. 

' And if we would only learn to bring scientific induction 
into all this work,' mused the inspector aloud, ' not many 
cases would go wrong !' 

Mr. Finch coughed deferentially. 

' Excuse me, Mr. Byde, sir,' he insinuated, ' but if he's 
one of the officers at the Yard — one of the divisional in- 
spectors — perhaps — if you didn't mind — we should like to 
know his name and his division, if I'm not taking a liberty, 
sir ' 

' Eh ?' responded the inspector, roused ; ' " he ?" — who ?' 

' The party you was alludin' to, sir — the artful one — you'll 
excuse me, Mr. Byde ; no offence, I hope ? — the party that 
you'd like to bring into this work — Cy -' 

' Oh, you mean my old friend Scientific Induction, Esquire,' 
exclaimed the inspector good-humouredly. ' No, Master 
Finch, I fear you'd put the Tudor Street school on to him, 
and block him !' 

' Well, it's no use trying to put the double on with you, 
Mr. Byde, sir,' replied Mr. Finch, with a good-humour equal 
to the inspector's ; ' and there's no mistake : we should have 

The inspector led the way to the closed and curtained 
door communicating with the chamber at his right hand, 
No. 21. He entrusted the candlestick to Mr. Finch, and 
proceeded to remove the light article of furniture which 
stood against the curtain, a plain sheet of chintz. This 
done, he called his neighbour's attention to the fact that the 
curtain ended at the space of a foot from the floor. Had 
not Mr. Finch found the room draughty ? Not at all, Mr. 
Finch assured him. The inspector went down on his knees, 
and asked for a match. 

' Don't think there's such a thing about the place,' de- 
clared Mr. Finch. 

' Oh, I've some of my own,' replied the inspector, ' but I 
want one of the right sort — one of yours— the matches 
that last a devil of a time and don't make any noise when 
you strike 'em ! It's odds you've got some on you !' he 
urged jocosely. 

' Eight you are,' said Mr. Finch, with equanimity, pro- 



ducing half-a-dozen noiseless matches from his waistcoat 

' There's your boulevard,' resumed the inspector, passing 
the flame of the match along the flooring, at the bottom of 
the door ; ' there's the edge of your pavement. You forgot 
this line of dust, my lads. See how you disturbed it ! 
Anybody can see it's quite freshly disturbed.' 

' Where ?' protested Mr. Finch stoutly. 

Sir John interposed, speaking from the other side of the 

' It's no use denying it,' said he calmly ; ' Inspector Byda 
has found the road out. All's well that ends well. This 
ought to convince you, inspector, that we could have stood 
out, if we had liked. I don't blame you for threatening us, 
to force our hands and wind the affair up sharp, but still, to 
threaten us with the charge of murder, and the guillotine, 
was coming it strong, inspector, wasn't it.' 

' A bit strong, perhaps,' concurred the inspector, rising 
from his knees, and returning to the middle of the room. 

Mr. Finch restored the candlestick to its place. 

' Not to keep anything back,' pursued Sir John ; ' we 
recognised you in the train, before it started from London. 
Even if we had come on business, was it likely that we 
should have tried at anything, with a passenger from Scotland 
Yard about us, especially when that passenger was you ?' 

' Not very likely !' exclaimed Mr. Finch. 

' But we hadn't come on business. We'd come for a little 
holiday and change of air, and it's very unfortunate that 
circumstances should have made appearances awkward for 
us. But we know that you're not one of the gentlemen who 
are misled by appearances ; and the fact is, we mean to cut 
the Tudor Street school, and turn over a new leaf — don't 
we, Bat ?' 

' We do,' answered Mr. Finch. 

' And, therefore, now you have found out how that 
property came into our possession, and we've admitted that 
you are right — and you have pledged your word, on con- 
sideration of our behaving in a straightforward manner — 
that ends the whole matter, doesn't it ? I mean that of 
course it's quite clear we can't in any way be mixed up with 
the case you threatened us with — the murder?' 


' Oh, that's not my business,' returned Inspector Byde ; 
' my mission ended with this ' — he tapped the buttoned 
pocket containing the canvas bag. ' We shall have the 
identity of the victim established by a colleague of mine, 
and the body will then be removed from the Morgue, for 
burial here, or for transit to London. No doubt the friends 
of the deceased will pay the necessary charges, and have 
the coffin sent on from here. As for the murderer, the 
French police may either shelve the case as classee, or get 
hold of somebody or other who had nothing to do with it, 
and cut his head off; but against the real perpetrator of the 
crime there does not seem to me to be — and of course I 
know something, although its a French affair, and doesn't 
concern me personally — the smallest piece of evidence that 
could be put before a jury.' 

' But the man next door, No. 21 — the man we got this 
from ?' demanded Sir John, rather eagerly. 

' Ah ! the temperance party, Mr. Byde, that had so much 
to say, and that had the property by him, afterwards ?' 

Mr. Finch appeared to be asking himself why the in- 
spector could not immediately add two and two together, 
and, without any fuss at all about it, make the sum total at 
once four. 

' Brother Neel, of the International Organization of 
Total Abstainers?' Inspector Byde uttered these words 
slowly, but with no undue emphasis. ' Whoever murdered 
that English traveller by the night-mail from London, I 
know that the man Neel could not have been the murderer.' 
He turned the key in the lock. ' A last word, my lads,' he 
added facetiously ; if you'd like to go back to-morrow with 
me, say so, you know ! Anything to oblige two boys who've 
shown so much good sense. What do you say, Finch 
— Bartholomew Finch, alias Walker? There's nothing 
against you just now, I believe ; will you go back with me 
to-morrow ?' 

'You'll excuse me, Mr. Byde, but — no thank you ! Go 
back with you, sir ? No ; not exactly — you'll excuse me. 
Why, what would people say if they saw Bat Finch 
a-travelling with Inspector Byde ? It would be a disgrace 
for life ; I'd lose my character. I never could get over it ! 
Not me, Mr. Wilkins — no, sir 1* 



' And you, Vine ?' asked the inspector pleasantly ; ' will 
you keep me company to-morrow? The 8.20 a.m. train 
from the Gare du Nord, Calais and Dover, due Holborn 
Viaduct at 5.33 p.m., or in Victoria — which would be 
handier for you — at 5.30. It's the morning mail from 

' I would accompany you with very much pleasure, 
indeed,' replied Sir John, with his most elaborate drawl ; 
' but I am positively over for a holiday, and may run 
down to the South. Thanks all the same for your kind 

He had overcome his rage and disappointment, there 
could hardly be a doubt about it ; he had recovered his 
assurance and his superfine genteel veneer. This was no 
longer the foul-mouthed desperado of vile origin, whose 
aliases had been recorded in the Golden Square case of two 
years ago ; this was the man whose criminal associates, and 
whose pariah female patrons, in their admiration, nick- 
named him The Honourable (with sometimes a strong 
aspirate) or Sir John. 

Here he stood, liar and swindler — faithless, extortionate, 
and spendthrift — a good-looking fellow, well-built, well- 
dressed, and, when the pinch came, quite the last man to be 
called a coward : here he swaggered— the specious knave 
whom the most wise among the fair had always helped and 
liked ; who never told them they were less than perfect ; 
and who never sought them but for purposes of aggrandize- 
ment. When he passed a season at some fashionable resort, 
his surreptitious triumphs among the more exclusive sets 
became perfectly amazing from the moment the cold 
shoulder had been turned upon him by cousins, brothers, 
and lovers. 

His most remarkable victory, though an unremunerative 
one, he grumbled, had been gained at Scarborough just 
before the Golden Square case. He had irretrievably com- 
promised a professional coquette (a failure on the stage, 
though honoured by the notice, and, as it was understood, 
by the personal favours of — well, go to, no matter for the 
dish — the least said soonest mended), who had upon 
that untoward incident vanished from the public scene, with 
■ — among other good deeds— a separation, two divorces, an 


attempt at suicide, and four great bankruptcies to he? 

Sir John's gentility and splendid impudence had, on much 
worthier occasions, thrust aside plain merit or refinement. 
His social ' form ' electrified the Tudor Street school, when 
they recognised their swell mobsman in the Eow, at Epsom, 
at Ascot, or at Goodwood. It was a joke among themselves 
that now and then they journeyed by excursion trains 
to fashionable ' fixtures ' out of town, for the object, and for 
that alcne, of feasting their eyes upon the grandeur of Sir 
John. In immediate contact with them, he maintained his 
' form ' uneasily ; and he certainly ought not to have 
indulged in it with any representative of Scotland Yard. 
Yet, with a swagger, he now stood drawling his responses 
to Inspector George Byde, of the V Division ; surveying 
that experienced officer, by the Lord Harry, through an 
eyeglass ! 

' My lads,' concluded the inspector, on whom such mani- 
festations were always lost — ' we start clear from this 
evening : keep out of my way.' In another instant, he was 

Mr. Toppin informed his colleague, as together they re- 
traced their steps, that ho had adopted the precaution of 
just speaking to a French plaiu-clothes man, in a friendly 
way, to watch the temperance gentleman downstairs, whilst 
he himself should happen to be absent. He had noticed the 
plain-clothes man hanging about at the end of the street, and 
fancied he would do well to enlist his temporary services ; 
seeing that the Vicomte, Mr. Byde's elderly friend — and here 
Mr. Toppin glanced at the inspector dubiously — had alto- 
gether failed to comprehend him when he, Mr. Toppin, 
tipped him the office, gave him the hint, and tendered him 
the cue. In fact, that old buck would not stay in their 
society at all. 

' What, he's left you?' demanded the inspector, startled, 
notwithstanding his conviction that he had fully grasped the 
entire case, and that no issue remained over unaccounted 
for. Yes, he had left them, but he had promised to come 
back for a chat with Mr. Byde by the time the latter had 
dined. Before quitting the hotel he had appeared to be 


gossiping with the lady in the bureau. He, Mr. Toppin, 
should say that the old chap had created an impression in 
that quarter. 

' You look pale, inspector,' added Mr. Toppin inquisi- 

The inspector said he felt he wanted an underdone beef- 
steak and a pint of good stout in a cool tankard. 

' You can't get that here,' observed Mr. Toppin. 

' No ; but this time to-morrow I'll be drinking your health, 
friend Toppin, in the finest stout in the borough of West- 
minster. And I'll be dining off a British beefsteak at the 
' Silver Gridiron,' where there's a draught from every door 
and window, and sawdust on the ground.' 

' To-morrow, inspector ! Then you go back ?' 

' By the morning-mail, 8.20 from the Northern Terminus.' 

' How's the case, then ?' asked Toppin anxiously. 

' All over but shouting, my boy ! The genuine property 
goes back with me to-morrow, and within three days you'll 
get a letter of commendation from the Yard.' 

' Shall I, inspector ? You'll report ?' 

' I'll do the right thing by you, Toppin ; you'll have no 
cause to complain of my report. I don't forget how you've 
helped me through.' 

' Mr. Byde, sir ' began his subordinate with emotion. 

' That's all right,' continued the inspector, ' I see what it 
is ; you only want a little encouragement.' 

' That's all, Mr. Byde, that's all, I assure you,' declared 
Toppin eagerly. ' A little encouragement — that's just it !' 

At the foot of the staircase the inspector checked his 

' Now here's a minor part of the inquiry you can deal with 
by yourself,' said he. ' The Wilmot diamonds are now in 
my pocket — all of them, we'll suppose, except, perhaps, two 
or three or four. I rather imagine that those two or three 
or four may be met with in room No. 21, hidden away 
somewhere, under lock and key. Take the man Neel up- 
stairs with you, and find them.' 

Brother Neel barely deigned to move as they rejoined 
him. On baing apprised of Mr. Toppin's errand, however, 
his perturbation became evident to at any rate one pair of 
penetrating eyes. Outraged virtue protested in his tone; 


the honour and dignity of the I.O.T.A. confronted a 
traducer, in his phrasing and his .magnificent pose. How 
he did sublimely cast those long, unparted oily locks back 
from his noble brow — the platform gesture of a million 
oratorical mountebanks ! Oh, the generous fire of that 
regard, and oh, the leonine head ! 

The inspector looked on like a very wicked old Grimalkin, 
whose mere aspect at this moment should have cured any 
unctuous, tub-thumping Grand Worthy Master or brother 
of the I.O.T.A. of any incipient tendency towards moral 

At length alone, the inspector set about his late meal in 
good earnest. His subordinate officer and Brother Neel 
remained longer absent than he had anticipated. 

When Mr. Toppin reappeared, he was unaccompanied by 
the lecturer. 

' Nothing !' he exclaimed excitedly ; ' found the lock of his 
portmanteau forced when he got upstairs. " The Anarchist, 
for a thousand," said I. " Haven't the least cognizance of 
your meaning, my dear friend," said he. And here it is ! he 

won't admit that the lock has been forced — d d glad he 

is that it has been forced ! Of course I searched, and of 
course there was nothing. But I'm after the Anarchist now ! 
He's done his work and gone home it seems ; and I'll be 
after him, if I take a streetfull of the police to get the 
stones for you by to-morrow morning — or perhaps to- 

' No, not to-night, Toppin — I want a good night's rest, 
and I shall turn in early. Before 8.20 to-morrow morning, 
at the Gare du Nord. And, by the way, I want you parti- 
cularly to see me off. You had better come to my hotel 
first. I expect to be followed on the way back to London, 
and I want you to watch the station here.' 

The inspector escorted Mr. Toppin to the vestibule. 
Grandpa had returned to the hotel bureau, and was gos- 
siping more than affably with its lady-president. Grandpa's 
gallantry of manner grew with each compliment he rounded, 
and with each compliment more melting grew the widowed 

' Wonderful old boy,' murmured the inspector. ' They'd 
make a nice old couple, too !' 


But the inspector here, at any rate, misread the mani- 
festations. Grandpa was reflecting — ■ 

' Clever woman — knows the world — must look in soon and 
offer a commission — directly Byde's out of the way. Could 
put a lot of business into our hands, this wide-awake old 
rosebud here !' 

' The lady was reflecting — 

'Mais il est charmant, ma chere — charmant — mais charmant, 
ce vieux monsieur / D'un galant! D' une distinction ! There 
are then Englishmen like this ? What courtly grace, and 
what adorable simplicity ! His foreign accent not too harsh 
— piquant, when you get accustomed to it— oui, ma cMre — 
et puis, un vicomte/ The usage of the best world! And 
so I should be vicomtesse ? The Baron X. will be so glad to 
hear of this ! And when he knows I'm rich and married 
he's certain to come to me again !' 

' You think, then, you'll be followed back to-morrow ?' 
inquired Toppin seriously. ' They'll have another try ?' 

' I hope so,' answered the inspector. ' I've laid the 
trap 1' 


Inspectob Byde had noted down so many points for his 
brief conference with Toppin on the following day, prior to 
his own departure from Paris, that he had intended to rise 
somewhat early, in the hope that (Mr. Toppin being a young 
man who was never punctual to his appointments, but 
always vexatiously in advance) half an hour or so might be 
available for the discussion of some hitherto unattempted 
theorems. He did rise early — earlier than he had intended. 
An unexpected caller sent his card up at an untimely hour. 
The inspector was still wrapped in the refreshing sleep which 
no doubt blesses ' virtue's votary ' quite as often as it re- 
compenses vice, after the ' pleasures of a well-spent day,' 
when a discreet knocking at his chamber door roused him at 
6.12. It was one of the hotel servants, who struggled out 
of his bed every morning to meet the arrivals by the English 

The gentleman who sent this card up to monsieur, ex,- 


plained the servant apologetically, would not wait a single 
instant. He was a gentleman in a hurry to see monsieur : 
a foreigner : had luggage with him : not much luggage, 

but the candle ? to bring in the candle ? certainly, 

monsieur — the dawn not breaking at this season of the year 

until close upon was it that he was alone, the traveller? 

Apparently the traveller was alone : but peremptory — in a 
hurry to send his name up to monsieur. 

' Mr. A. W Sinclair,' read the inspector, by the light of 
the candle. 

Yes, there were the characters — Mr. A. W Sinclair. In- 
formation against him must have broken down, then ? No 
case whatever, that was evident ! In his heart of hearts the 
inspector could not repress a certain feeling of surprise that 
so much promptitude in releasing this innocent person should 
have been employed by, as he phrased it with habitual 
caution, the powers that be. It might have been found that 
not the slightest justification could be adduced for the in- 
formation laid by old Stanislas Wilmot ; the wrongful 
detention had been shown to be a glaring instance of wrong, 
etc., etc.; and notwithstanding all that — well, did he not 
understand the way they went along, too many of them ? — 
and did he not know how easily the magistrates of police 
courts could be led into conceding unfair postponements and 
remands, prejudicially though these might affect the prisoner, 
and warranted only by impressionist conjecture, mere 
' appearances ?' He should say, whatever might be the 
resources Mr. Sinclair had controlled, that the young gentle- 
man was to be congratulated on getting out of this Park 
Lane affair so soon. Strange, all the same, that he himself 
should have received no word by telegram of the release. 
Inspector Byde looked at his watch, gave the servant a 
direction, locked the door again, satisfied himself once more 
as to the safety of the packet in his temporary charge, and 
plunged his head into a basin of cold water. 

The visitor, who was ushered upstairs after the short 
interval ordered by Mr. Byde, addressed the latter in a 
cheery voice, at once recalling to his mind the night of the 
arrest on Dover platform. A suspicion as to the genuine- 
ness of this card bearing the name of Mr. Sinclair had, to 
tell the truth, occurred to the inspector, and before admit- 


ting his caller, he had gone back to the heavily-curtained 
bedstead to possess himself of two small objects, reposing 
well out of view, but well within the sleeper's reach, under- 
neath the pillow. 

He had never seen this Mr. Sinclair. The frank accents, 
however, that now fell upon his ears were undoubtedly 
those which had so firmly and distinctly replied to the con- 
dolences offered by the dead man Eemington — the false 
condolences of the very man who, at the moment of his 
uttering them, had the stolen Wilmot diamonds in his own 

' You will know me by name, I dare say, Mr. Byde,' 
began the visitor, with no trace of either chagrin or resent- 
ment — ' at least, when I tell you that I am just in from Dover, 
and that the supposed case against me altogether collapsed, 
you will know where to place me in connection with your 
present business here. They told me at Dover that I might 
do well to give you a call immediately on arriving in Paris, 
and that coincided with my own desire. They fancied, for 
some reason or other, that you might be leaving for Amster- 
dam, or elsewhere, the very first thing this morning — if you 
had not, in fact, already gone away. If I would be good 
enough to do so, they said, I was to report myself to Mr. 
Byde, Terminus Hotel — I was to report myself and my 
release at once. And as I had heard by telegram of your very 
great kindness to friends of mine here, I was particularly 
anxious to intercept you.' 

He added a few simple words of thanks, naming only Mrs. 
Bertram in reference to his friends ; and then expressed a 
perfectly impartial hope for the inspector's early and com- 
plete success in the investigation. 

It was too bad to intrude upon him at such an hour ; but, 
apart from the suggestion submitted to him with great 
courtesy at Dover, Mr. Sinclair had wished to know with- 
out delay what news the inspector might be able to give 
him of the friends he had spoken of — the friends residing in 
the Avenue Marceau. Of course he could not present him- 
self there yet awhile. He had wired to them, definitively, 
last evening ; and no doubt they were in expectation of his 
arrival. Had the inspector heard at all from the Avenue 
Marceau, late last night ? 


Packing his valise with the celerity of a practised cam- 
paigner, the inspector answered this and other tentative 
queries in a manner which indicated to his guest that he 
was substantially cognisant of the tie that bound Mr. Austin 
Sinclair to Miss Kuollys. Their mutual avoidance of the 
young lady's name only brought into greater prominence her 
passive share in the determination of Mr. Sinclair's recent 

It was Mr. Sinclair himself who eventually pronounced 
her name. He did so with an effort, as though shrinking 
from an act equivalent to desecration ; but, having once 
broken silence with regard to her, he spoke of no one but 
Miss Adela Kuollys to the inspector. 

Sincerely, how had she borne the news of his disgrace ? 
The inspector had visited at the Avenue Marceau, and had 
seen both ladies since : how had Miss Knollys appeared to 
view the frightful humiliation he had undergone — the 
shame of a suspected criminality, the blemish of imprison- 
ment ? 

' I am afraid — I am afraid,' continued this young fellow, 
with a very honest blush, and his voice beginning to 
tremble ; ' I was confident and steady enough until it was 
all over, but then — well, by Jove, inspector, I couldn't help 
fearing for the moral consequences — you know — as a man 
of the world ' 

The inspector shut down the top of his valise, and stood 
upright again. 

' I tell you what it is, Mr. Sinclair,' said he, ' and having 
been honoured by the confidence of that young lady, I may 
perhaps have had fairly good opportunities for judging — you 
are an extremely fortunate young gentleman, sir !' 

The visitor sprang to his feet and grasped Inspector Byde 
by the hand. 

The inspector had been seeking for symptoms of the ' per- 
emptoriness ' reported to him, but had sought for them in 
vain. On a closer examination he fancied he could detect a 
considerable store of the decision of character to which he 
had heard Mrs. Bertram make allusion. 

This was a fellow, thought the inspector, who would 
grapple with difficulties, and no mistake ; although this was 
also a fellow in whom a great deal of sentiment, don't you 


know, existed side by side with heaps of silent energy — not 
the commonest of co-ordinates. It was to be remarked that 
the inspector phrased it ' sentiment,' not ' sentimentality,' 
and that — a man of the world, as Mr. Sinclair had observed 
— he did not in the least appear to look upon sentiment as 
either effeminate, or ridiculous, or in any conceivable fashion 
• bad form.' He judged according to his humble lights, did 
he not? And what is more, as a man of the world, he 
might have been found excusing even sentimentality. In 
his professional explorations of human nature he had so 
often traversed arid, flat, unhorizoned, monotonous wastes. 

A few words enlightened the inspector as to the circum- 
stances of Mr. Sinclair's release. That gentleman had not 
merely proved his own alibi, he told Mr. Byde ; he had in- 
cidentally furnished clues to the actual perpetrators of the 
Park Lane diamond robbery. 

On and about the date of the robbery, he was attending 
the last moments of an aged relative, by whom he had been 
hastily summoned from London. His relative lived at 
Chelmsford, and so far as the alibi was concerned, it was 
complete. With the knowledge which he, Mr. Sinclair, 
had of Stanislas Wilmot's personal disposition, as well as of 
his business enterprises, he had had no difficulty in at once 
comprehending the real bearings of his own case. 

That being so, while quietly submitting to the arrest, he 
had lost no time in assailing Mr. Wilmot through a certain 
channel of private influences — irresistible influences, by Jove ! 
Wilmot had rushed down post-haste to Scotland Yard to 
retract his information, inasmuch as it affected his former 
secretary. And there they had talked to him rather 

The thing might be made exceedingly unpleasant for old 
Stanislas Wilmot if he, Mr. Sinclair, chose to go on with it. 
But any measures of retaliation would infallibly bring 
before the public gaze at least one other name than theirs, 
and to avoid such an eventuality as that, he would be 
willing to resign himself to much more than had actually 
been visited upon him. Wilmot had sent a special mes- 
senger to Dover with an apology that might have satisfied 
the most exacting of individuals. 

Mr. Sinclair laughed cheerily as he said this. What did 


it matter to him, ho added tranquilly, if he had not fallen 
in the esteem of the sole person -whose esteem he cared 
about ! The testamentary appointment of Stanislas Wilmot 
as the guardian of Miss Knollys vested powers in that 
gentleman which could be rendered little short of despotic 
during the legal infancy of his ward. 

He, Mr. Sinclair, had not wished to involve Miss Adela 
Knollys in large financial losses by any precipitate action of 
his own ; at the same time, he had very keenly felt the 
possible reproach that he was ready enough to wait until 
she could come into the possession of her independent 
means. It might have been feasible to upset the will on 
the ground of undue influence. 

However, matters had turned out satisfactorily. Wilmot 
had ventured too far. Having by degrees shut his ward off 
from all society except that of a few queer City associates 
and their showy wives — whom the young lady, obeying her 
instinct, had ultimately refused to meet — he had ended by 
making her virtually his prisoner. She had been obliged to 
quit the Park Lane house almost by stealth. 

' She preceded me here,' concluded Mr. Sinclair — * and 
sent me word she had done so : and of course I came on — 
when that little interruption took place at Dover. I talk 
freely to you, inspector, because I can see you are a good 
fellow, and because, in the matter of confidences, you gentle- 
men exercise sometimes the sort of rights exercised by the 
medical man. Besides, you have been very kind to her — I 
know that from a message. Well, by Jove, look here — I 
am not worthy of that splendid girl !' 

' Yes, you are,' thought the inspector, watching him ; 
although, as the reader does not need to be reminded, he 
had himself been subjugated by the charm ; in which state 
of mind, whether the homage be ' paternal,' or in the 
strictest sense the converse of Platonic, the vassal frequently 
exhibits the fiercest scorn for any fellow-slave who would 
approach too near. 

' I had not seen my relative for some years,' continued 
Mr. Sinclair. ' We quarrelled a long time ago. He was a 
dictatorial old boy, and wanted me to go into the Church. I 
refused, and he took up one of my cousins, an awfully loose 
fish at college, but now a curate. Well, what do you think 


this poor old boy did ? Had my movements followed, wher- 
ever I went, and always kept an eye upon me as I was 
struggling along. I almost feel angry with him, now that I 
know it, for never affording me an opportunity of showing 
him that I was not ungrateful. Poor old boy, he's dead 
now. He received me quite roughly when I appeared at 
his bedside, the other day ; and then — and then — by Jove, 
in his last few minutes, he whispered that he had provided 
for me. And so he has — handsomely ! An old brick, he 
was — a fine old Englishman ! If it could have given him 
back his health at all, I'd have gone into the Church, even 
now !' 

The inspector folded his travelling-wrap over his valise, 
and sat down for a moment after his labours. ' You are 
relieved of one great anxiety, at any rate,' said he. 

' Yes — thanks to him.' 

' And so all is going to end up happily ? Why, that's as 
it should be !' 

' As it should be — yes ; and as too often it isn't. I don't 
see, either, what I've done, myself, to deserve this good 
fortune ; but there are so many rogues in the world who are 
infinitely more prosperous upon nothing but misdeeds, that 
I may as well accept it without any scruple. You'll think 
it odd, perhaps, but I half feel I owe it to the old boy to go 
into the Church.' 

' Go into the Wesleyan Church,' urged the inspector, who, 
to please Mrs. Byde, rented sittings in the Wesleyan temple 
of their own locality, but never had been able to get along 
with the successive ministers. 

' Well,' objected Mr. Sinclair, ' my relative was very 
Church of England.' 

' Ah — just so !' acquiesced the inspector. 

Directing the conversation upon his personal part in the 
Wilmot inquiry, Inspector Byde recapitulated briefly such of 
the main facts as he deemed it advisable to communicate. 
The murder was, of course, already known to Mr. Sinclair. 
The latter would not need to appear in that affair ; and no 
doubt the excitement it had caused here would rapidly 
subside. Bemingtcn would be formally identified through a 
colleague of Mr. Bydes. As to the assassin, the French 
police possessed absolutely no clue, and they would most 


Kkely add the case soon to their catalogue of affaires classics, 
that is to say, unexplained. He, Mr. Byde, was on the 
track of the missing valuables. It was lucky Mr. Sinclair 
had looked in ; he was leaving by the morning mail »„t 8. 20. 

Mr. Sinclair replied, after a pause, that there could be no 
reason why he should disguise the fact that Eemington was 
one of the two men whom his information, furnished at 
Dover to a Sergeant Bell, from Scotland Yard, directly 
implicated. The details must be in course of verification at 
the present moment, and by the time Inspector Byde 
returned to Scotland Yard, the story would have been 
completed for him. Not to prejudice the other man unduly, 
he would prefer just now to withhold the name which had 
been coupled with that of the deceased. The inspector would 
go fresh to his facts on reaching London. Mr. Sinclair had 
left Dover at ten o'clock on the previous evening. The train 
was the regular night-mail to the Continent ; the train by 
which he had originally journeyed ; it was just as if he had 
stepped out for a stay at Dover, with the object of profiting 
by the sea air, and as if, when he had had enough of it, he 
had merely stepped in again, to come along. Mr. Sinclair 
laughed cheerily once more. Life had opened out brightly 
for him. 

The travelled waiter who knew his Battersea arrived at 
this instant with ' correspondence for Mistaire Bydee which 
have been delivered late last night, and have been overlook 
by the confrere then on duty.' One of the missives he 
brought was a note which had not passed through the post; 
the other was a telegram. 

' Have you opened these?' asked the recipient. 

Opened them? Mais, monsieur/ — 

' Have you opened these ?' 

But, certainly we did not permit ourselves to violate the 
correspondence of our clients ; and we had our honour — and 
we had our probity — and 

' Come ! come ! Have the contents of these gone down to 
the Prefecture ?' — But assuredly not ! — Monsieur Hy being 
in relations with the colleague of Monsieur Bydee ! At the 
Prefecture he had been told so. Aha ! monsieur was no 
architect, then, after all. He (Mr. Byde and the waiter) 
turned out to be colleagues — only it would be just as well 


not to mention the Prefecture at the hotel, hcin ? As you 
said in English, ' Ma'am is the word !' Monsieur would be 
coming down to breakfast? Plenty of time. Mr. Byde's 
colleague vanished, smiling mysteriously, like a brother 

' They have most likely been opened,' pronounced the 
inspector. The telegram proved to be from Sergeant Bell, 
communicating the fact of Austin Wortley Sinclair's 
release, and preparing him for that young gentleman's early 
visit. The note proved to be two notes : Mrs. Bertram 
wrote in the third person to inform him ' in great haste ' 
that shortly after reaching home she received a second 
message from Mr. Sinclair, announcing his departure for 
Paris, inasmuch as all had been disposed of. The coachman 
would convey this hurried scrawl to Mr. Byde's address at 
once. Mrs. Bertram would feel so pleased ii Inspector Byde 
would dine with them on Christmas Day — quite enfamille. 

' Christmas Day ?' exclaimed the inspector- — ' Why. of 
course, to-morrow's Christmas Eve! Capital! I can spend 
my Christmas at home in Camberwell — that is,' he added, 
half to himself — ' unless I meet with accidents.' 

' And the other note ?' hazarded Mr. Sinclair, without 
heeding the ominous qualification. 

The inspector opened the enclosure, a small sheet of 
rough gray note-paper, folded fantastically. 

'From Miss Knollys,' said he, after glancing through the 
serried lines. ' Thanks me over and over again for all I 
have done, and will never, never, never forget it. But I've 
done nothing ! Well, I congratulate you, Mr. Sinclair. 
You have won almost an ideal nature — excuse me, sir.' 

' Lock here, inspector,' exclaimed the young man — ' my 
conscience smote me, just now, when I was keeping back a 
portion of the story from you. The last time I saw her was 
the day before her departure for Paris. I didn't know she 
was coming on here so soon. We met by appointment at a 
registrar's office — and — the fact is, inspector, I am married 
to Miss Knollys !' 

' Married to her !' 

' Yes. And I haven't seen her since. Her maid accom- 
panied her ; and we parted when the formalities were gone 
through. And that's what made me frightfully apprehensive. 


She bears my name now. Any dishonour to myself means 
dishonour to her. It's the same maid who has come on here 
with her, and she had exhibited the greatest affection for 
Miss Knollys — indeed, devotion.' 

' A devoted confidential maid !' commented the inspector 
incredulously. ' A confidential maid devoted to her 
mistress ! Why, when will women know one another ? A 
confidential maid : well, now, I've been looking for the link, 
and perhaps I've found it. Do you know anything about 
this devoted confidential maid ?' 

' No ; can't say I do,' answered Mr. Sinclair, startled. 
She's a girl of rather striking personal appearance, and her 
name is Murdoch — Lydia Murdoch.' 

That grim smile of the inspector's broke over his face. 

'Hah! just so, just so!' he murmured; 'I should have 
got at it scientifically. Mayfair case — divorce proceedings 
Montmorency Vane — Vine, alias Grainger — good ! I should 
have been glad of an interview with the handsome Miss 
Murdoch, but can't spare the time. Toppin must see to it. 
If I were you, Mr. Sinclair, I should send that confidential 
maid about her business. Her antecedents are deplorable.' 

' You don't mean that ?' 

' Yes. There's nothing she can be directly charged with 
that I can see. She's too clever for that. But let her 
carry her devotion somewhere else ; let her get into some- 
body else's confidence. She has had a pensioner with very 
expensive tastes, and I dare say she'd replace him even if 
we managed to relieve her of the pensioner. Where there's 
one, there's two. And honest people get victimised. Lady- 
like girl, too, Miss Murdoch ! Do me the favour of break- 
fasting with me, Mr. Sinclair. My colleague will be here 
presently ; and you will be able to testify to Mrs. Bertram 
how hurriedly I have been obliged to leave. I shall ask 
you to make my excuses.' 

An earlier visitor than Toppin, however, arrived to say a 
few farewell words to Mr. Byde. 

Grandpa called while they were at breakfast. He 
seemed quite hurt that the inspector should refrain from 
ntroducing him to the strange young gentleman seated at 
his left hand. 

' Your friend might like to know a vicomte,' he hinted. 



' Don't insist, Benny,' urged the inspector soothingly — 
• I'd really really rather not. And, besides, he knows better 
than that !' 

Monsieur de Bingham then drew a large pill-box out of 
his waistcoat pocket, and screwed it up tightly in paper. 

' A little memento from Finch and myself,' said he ; ' but 
don't look at it until you get on your journey.' 

' If they are antibilious, Benjamin, I assure you ' 

' Well, never mind ; that's our present, and I give you 
my word that you can accept it. That's right — put it in 
your pocket. You know very well I wouldn't ask you 
to commit yourself to anything incompatible with your 
position. How we do understand each other, you and 

' Where is Master Finch ?' 

' Not up yet. Too early for him. But he sends you his 
compliments, and wants to know whether he can go back 
to Soho for his Christmas ?' 

' So far as I am concerned, certainly. And he can 
take a walk up Oxford Street on Boxing-day. We start 

' I may as well tell you,' added grandpa, grasping the 
inspector heartily by the hand — ' that the present is 
Bartholomew's rather than mine, although he might 
not have brought himself to offer it to you, but for 

' That's very kind of you, Benjamin, I'm sure. Silver- 
coated, are they ?' 

' More than silver-coated they are. And now, old friend, 
good-bye, good-bye.' 

The inspector was escorting his visitor. 

' Oh, we shall meet again soon, I dare say,' he replied — 
' but • I hope it won't be professionally, Benjamin. Keep 
out of it.' 

' Old friend,' exclaimed grandpa, with a change of manner 
which recalled his outburst in the Eue des Petits Champs — 
' I respect you — I do, indeed. I should grieve to hear that 
you had met with accidents.' 

Grandpa looked as fresh and spry and dignified as ever , 
but you would have said his eyes were moistening. 

' I hope that there are no serious accidents iu store for 
me, Benjamin ?' 


Mr. Bingham hesitated, and then spoke out impul- 

' Between this time and to-morrow,' said he, averting his 
glance, ' accidents might happen to you, old friend — they 
might, they might /' 

' I see you did rejoin your friends last night after all, 

' How we do understand each other, don't we !' repeated 

A fresh grasp of the hand, and he was gone. 

' Well done, Benjamin,' mused the inspector, gazing 
after Mr. Bingham ; ' I really don't think he would like to 
see me hurt !' 

Toppin came up presently, and his colleague made ready 
to supply him with the final instructions. Mr. Toppin's 
countenance, however, wore a crestfallen expression that 
was quite painful. 

' A mishap,' he began. ' No luck !' 

' In a few words ?' 

' Got the Anarchist's address from the hotel, and collared 
him in his lodging. Hinted at the Prefecture of Police, and 
put the matter to him as a fellow-revolutionist. My suspi- 
cions perfectly well-founded. He wouldn't lie. Told me 
he had forced Neel's portmanteau because Neel seemed to 
be a priest-bourgeois, the worst kind of bourgeois for the 
working man. Had meant to restore to the working man 
something of what the bourgeoisie had taken from him. 
Searching the special receptacles of the portmanteau, had 
found six loose diamonds, twisted up in a kid glove. Had 
meant them as a donation to his lodge. Eesigned them on 
my representations. Said there were plenty of jewellers' 
windows to be smashed in, whenever the Anarchists chose, 
along the Bue de la Pais and in the Palais-Eoyal.' 

' Well, where are the stones?' 

' Infernal mishap ! Went to the Grand Circus to pass an 
hour, last night being the night of the week — and — well, 
there, I must have lost them. Extraordinary ! Can't 
imagine how it happened. Haven't slept a wink all night.' 
Toppin did look very much upset. ' Ban against that old 
friend of yours there, by the way, and had a talk with him,' 
he added — ' the Vicomte.' 



1 Oh, ah, yes,' observed the inspector ; ' the Vicomte — 
just so ! You must have had your pocket picked, friend 

' There's no French thief could pick my pocket,' declared 
Toppin somewhat indignantly. 

' It was an English thief, perhaps ? They do come over, 
you know.' 

' Yes, they do come over. But I'd like to see the man, 

English or anything else No, I must have dropped 

them somehow 1' 

The inspector turned to take his leave of Mr. Sinclair. 
They exchanged addresses, talked for a moment or two 
about the future, and then parted; and, from their 
cordial bearing, Toppin judged them to be old acquain- 

Mr. Byde's conference with his subordinate dealt more 
particularly with the affairs of the I.O.T.A. 

Brother Bamber was to be carefully kept in view. That 
was a personage, remarked the inspector, who might some 
day have to cut his long, fair, silky beard off, dye his eye- 
brows, • stop out ' his front teeth, and get away. The Yard 
might possibly, one of these fine mornings, send a word to 
Toppin to look after him ; and the Yard might be ' a day 
behind the festivity ;' unfortunate contretongs of that de- 
scription had occasionally occurred. It would be a good 
thing for Detective Toppin if he could be present at the 
festivity, or anticipate it ; that was how men rose in the 

Brother Bamber, Paris agent of the I.O.T.A., was playing 
at two or three games simultaneously. Did the inspector, 
as he threw off these suggestions, feel much confidence that 
Toppin would rise rapidly in the profession ? 

The inspector stood there quite inscrutable. The sculp- 
tured features of his meerschaum Sphinx could not have 
been less instinct with opinion than his own. We know,, 
however, that Toppin did show great improvement in 
a sensational case which he conducted not long after- 

With regard to the position of Brother Neel, nothing in 
that matter would require Toppin's notice. Mr. Toppin 
might do well to make a visit to the Avenue Marceau, No. 


95, and ascertain the movements of one Lydia Murdoch, 
lady's-maid in the service of Miss Knollys. If he could 
strike up an acquaintance with her, it might prove useful. 
Friend Toppin had better lose no time about it. A good 
' fake ' for him with the party in question would be the 
superior betting-man, down on his luck a bit — ' you know 
— nothing loud or horsey — nothing common or flash : the 
scrupulously-dressed betting-man, with only one ring ; the 
fellow who can talk, without forcing it, about the sporting 
baronets and noblemen he meets on English racecourses. 

Mr. Toppin said he saw, and that he fancied it was just 
what he could do. In fact, he caught at the mission eagerly. 
What he saw more vividly than his own metamorphosed 
figure, thus outlined roughly for him by Inspector Byde, was 
the other figure which his duty now commanded him to 
approach. An imperial shape, in one fleeting, statuesque 
attitude, again defined itself before his gaze, as he stared 
unintelligently at his superior officer. Toppin, the practical 
Detective Thomas Toppin, felt absolutely nervous as he 
seemed to see once more the clear pale face — the large dark 
eyes — the dark blue, large, perturbing eyes. 

' And here's a message to the Yard which I've written out 
for you,' proceeded the inspector ; ' and I want you to hand 
it into the telegraph-office as soon as my train starts. We 
separate here ; and now, mind, I want you to watch the 
station until ' 

They were standing in front of the terminus, to the right 
of the main entrance under the clock. Cabs, with travellers 
and their luggage, bound for the morning-mail to England, 
had already driven up to the left side of the station, and 
disappeared through the iron gateway. Looking at Toppin 
as he addressed him, the inspector paused in his observa- 
tions to follow the direction of that officer's fixed regard. 

One of the cabs had driven up behind them, and had 
there stopped. A female form, clad in a stylish travelling 
costume, had alighted, and that form had suddenly embodied 
Mr. Toppin's mental picture. It was — ' the party in ques- 

' 'Crd nom de noms da noms' muttered Toppin, dis- 
appointed and crushed, ' she's going away l' 


' She's going by the mail,' said the inspector, ' then it's a 
rendezvous. Be off, Toppin ! Hand in the message. We 
can't bring the Eemington case home, but, by the Lord 
Harry, I'll have the man on another charge before I eat 
my Christmas dinner !' 


Opening the small packet placed in his hands by Mr. 
Bingham, the inspector found exactly what the circum- 
stances of his colleague's misadventure led him to expect. 
They were not antibilious pills, nor any pharmaceutical pre- 
paration in coating of either silver or gold ; they were 
finely-cut brilliants of the purest water, and in number they 
were half-a-dozen. 

The inspector satisfied himself upon the point without 
attracting the attention of his fellow -passengers. He 
stowed Mr. Finch's present away in the pocket rendered 
secure by the row of buttons ; and as he reflected that he 
was now carrying back the recently-stolen Wilmot diamonds, 
in all probability not one missing, he set himself, as was his 
wont at the conclusion of successful inquiries, to review his 
progress step by step, and to examine at every successive 
step the environing possibilities of error. 

The sudden remark of a fellow-passenger that they might 
be traversing at this very moment the actual scene of the 
unexplained railway murder, broke into his analytical 
exercises. And then all the passengers got up from the 
places where they had comfortably ensconced themselves, 
and crowded towards the windows, as though the crime had 
not yet been committed, and might be just about to begin ; 
or as if they were unable to resist the notion that the 
assassin had remained ever since upon the spot, but at the 
side of the line, out of danger of the passing trains, and 
that, as they dashed by, he would settle his feet in the third 
position, and make his bow. 

Creil left in its rear, the mail-train rushed onwards to 
Amiens. It was a ' gray-day :' not too cold, the passengers 
commented, for the season of the year — and dry. Darkness 


would have set in some time before they steamed into 
Victoria, thought the inspector. 

He had his programme determined for the evening. That 
in an unknown portion of the train there was a man who 
meant to steal upon him with the dusk, he did not for an 
instant doubt — a man who, if they sat alone, they two, by 
chance, would bound upon him when he looked aside, or, if 
the vicinage of others held him back, would watch him at 
arm's length ceaselessly and in silence until they reached 
their journey's end — a man who meant to dog his footsteps, 
and at the first dire opportunity to stay them— a man who at 
the last resort would check him at the threshold of his goal, 
and seize him with a reckless fury by the throat — he did not 
doubt that, somewhere in the train, that man lurked and 

Amiens and Abbeville ; Boulogne ; Calais. The inspector 
had not changed his place while the mail-train sped over 
French soil to its destination on the coast. Here lay the 
Calais pier, however; the Channel boat placidly awaited 
them ; and he should now learn whether, as he hoped, a 
murderer was resolutely following in his path. 

Yes — as he had planned it, so would be the denouement : 
oh, well enough he recognised the man who with bent head 
pushed into the midst of the last voyagers embarking ! The 
tall shapely woman whom the inspector likewise eyed with 
recognition — was she or was she not, wondered half-a-dozen 
of the Irresistibles grouped near the gangway, the appurten- 
ance of that same personage who, with his head down, 
walked a little in advance of her, and never spoke ? 

The Irresistibles, French or English, in commerce or 
diplomacy, were always ready to assist the unprotected 
siren ' going across.' Periodical travellers ' by this route,' 
they knew how to secure precious comforts for any quaking 
Circe who might have recompenses to bestow subsequently. 
When they met again together, after good actions of this 
sort, they would while away the tedium of an uneventful 
passage by relations of their subsequent rewards. From the 
jocularities of their narrative style, it might then have 
seemed to Circe that the piece of magic recorded in an 
ancient chronicle were being turned against herself. The 
disappointment of the Irresistibles proved great, indeed, 


when the handsome soubrette of the Mayfair scandal, look- 
ing, as they put it, like a duchess in disguise — an infelicitous 
locution — passed them all by as though they were not, and 
took another's arm, the barely-proffered arm of that 
Marquis-de-Eouge-et-Noir sort of customer over there — the 
gray-eyed, Eoman-nosed beggar who was now making his 
way towards the extreme end of the boat — the swaggerer 
who, as an Adonis of Gaul, quite a dazzling Adonis, phrased 
it in a plaintive tone, had scanned them momentarily with 
lair de se ficher du wionde. 

At Dover, making his way from the landing-stage to the 
railway platform, the inspector met one or two men, in the 
attire of civilians, who stared very hard at him, but did not 
either speak or nod , and at whom he also stared hard for an 
instant, without speaking or nodding, either. They were 
squarely-built men, with beards and round felt hats, and 
they carried plain walking-sticks. They did not appear to 
have any business to attend to, and they never seemed to 
be looking at the people close to them. 

The inspector knew each of these civilians, however, and 
they knew the inspector likewise, notwithstanding their 
reciprocal obliviousness of social usage. He turned back to 
ask the hindermost of them a question as to Sergeant Bell. 
On the Dover platform, Mr. Byde became a decidedly con- 
spicuous figure. He loitered in front of the carriage he had 
chosen, until the moment before the departure of the train. 
That ' Marquis de Eouge et Noir,' who ignored or forgot the 
disguised duchess, his companion, must assuredly have per- 
ceived the inspector, as he hurried into a compartment lying 
at no great distance from Mr. Byde's. 

There was no lack of fellow -passengers for Inspector 
Byde on his through journey to Victoria. He had pointed 
out in his last words to Sir John, on the previous evening, 
that the most convenient point for Tudor Street, W., would 
be Victoria, and, when delivered at this destination, he 
loitered in a singularly aimless manner about the most 
brightly-illuminated portions of the terminus. One other 
traveller — not two ; the female form had disappeared — • 
lingered about the premises at just the same time, though 
not in the most brilliantly-illuminated portions. 

It was the 'witching hour for London clerks. Their office 


work over till the next day, they were pouring into the 
terminus in multivious streams. Any unobtrusive watcher 
could escape attention. But why should the inspector 
lounge in a railway terminus instead of proceeding to the 
Department at once, there to report himself ? For the man 
who meant to dog his footsteps it was a stroke of luck, 
perhaps, that the inspector — arriving at his resolution, by 
the way, with an odd abruptness — told the cabman, whom 
he ultimately summoned, to drive not in the direction of 
Scotland Yard, but through by-streets to the main thorough- 
fare in which stood the Silver Gridiron, hostelry famous for 
its discomfort as for its excellent larder. The cabman had 
unwittingly undergone a swift, keen scrutiny as he prepared 
to depart with the inspector in his vehicle. Not one of 
' ours ' had pronounced the implacable watcher. A second 
vehicle took the same road as the inspector. 

The Golconda Club, as they are well aware at the 
Criminal Investigation Department, lies just out of Soho, 
on the north side of Oxford Street. To this club may 
belong ladies as well as gentlemen ; and no proportionate 
membership of the two sexes has been fixed by any statute 
drawn up by a committee, nor by any edict of the pro- 
prietor. What the fees imposed in the Golconda Club may 
happen to amount to, nothing in the shape of public an- 
nouncement would enlighten the inquirer. There are no 
tariffs displayed upon the walls ; there are no printed papers 
to be obtained on application at the secretary's office ; no 
manifolded circulars in violet ink, no stamped receipts, no 
ledgers, no account book. There is a secretary's office, with 
a bureau, writing materials, a waste-paper basket, railway 
guides, postal directories, and fine Ordnance maps. There 
is no secretary, however; nor has any member of the 
Golconda Club ever thrown into the waste-paper basket 
scraps of writing paper with characters inscribed thereon. 
Externally, the club presents the aspect of both the adjoin- 
ing Queen Anne houses, respectable and repellent, in 
weather-beaten brick. 

One of the contiguous buildings is a private institution for 
the treatment of renal disorders; another has its ground- 
floor windows filled with the fasciculi of the music publisher : 


its first floor rented by an Italian singing-rnaster ; and its 
higher stories occupied by medical students up from the 
country to attend the Middlesex Hospital, close at hand. 
Within these dingy Queen Anne structures lie spacious and 
solid apartments, their carved and moulded panellings and 
cornices reserving for the stranger an artistic surprise. 

The large room of the Golconda Club had its panels 
in white and gold. In the florid colours of the ceiling 
it was no difficult task to discern the story of a mythological 

When Inspector Byde, after a protracted sojourn at the 
Silver Gridiron, drove to the dark street in which the 
Golconda Club had flourished, to his knowledge, for three 
years, the members, male and female, had already begun to 
drop in. Some of the gentlemen were in evening dress, 
others were in a judicious costume for the afternoon, one or 
owo wore shooting- jackets, check-shirts, and gaiters to their 
boots. A subdued tone pervaded their sustained, easy, and 
general intercourse. The mild air of implicit faith which 
sat extremely well upon a few of them, not so long ago 
mere striplings, would have marked these out for jam tarts 
or bread and marmalade, in any company infested by the 
young suburban rakes who, having been to Paris, Vienna, 
and Madrid, come back to their mothers and sisters, but 
more particularly to their sisters' schoolfellows, with the 
unapproachably appalling manner of the homme blasi whose 
horrors of debauchery are all mysteriously implied, and all 
fictitious. Blasts young men, with capitalist papas attend- 
ing businesses ' E.C.,' were welcome guests, and ready prey, 
to members of the Golconda. 

The male members of the club would not unfrequently be 
well born ; but, base or noble of blood, most of them 
possessed and traded upon that ' air of native distinction ' 
which has been commonly supposed to exist specially for 
lovers in decayed circumstances, and for virtuous people (of 
attractive personal appearance) wronged. All these men 
were scoundrels. One or two of them had been in foreign 
and transatlantic prisons ; for others, deserving the same 
experiences, the latter remained yet in store ; the greater 
number would never meet with their deserts. 

Among the ladies, not one could be pointed to as honestly 


exhibiting a plain face, a deficient figure, or a shabby 
toilette. What they deserved — the lady members of the 
Golconda Club — had not assuredly been measured by them- 
selves ; what their deserts might be could not be measured 
by even the ' sterner ' sex, their victims : till the crack 
of doom it was the divine secret of the Eecording Angel. 

Pending the hour for settlements, the green baize tables 
had been set in the great room. The Golconda was believed 
to figure in the books of the police as merely an illegal and 
licentious gambling-club, tolerated for reasons which have 
their scientific counterpart in pathology. None ■ of the 
gamblers, therefore, concealed their money stakes when the 
inspector was heralded as a visitor, and* when he entered. 
He had been in the habit of looking in at the Golconda for 
a hand at whist, and he was known by sight to all the 
members. On the present occasion he declined to play, 
although urged with lavish blandishments by the large 
blonde, who had been Countess of XJlvermere. (She was 
divorced, upon the husband's petition, some eighteen months 
before.) He lounged from table to table, moved listlessly 
from group to group, and mingled in such conversations as 
did not cease at his approach. The company thinned, 
however, in a curious way, to-night. Inspector Byde had 
come there for someone, it seemed : for whom ? The com- 
pany thinned ; with no unseemly haste, but still with haste. 
He had not come alone, it was remarked. 

The inspector presently found himself with no companions 
but a slimj fair gentleman, who limped, and two ladies who 
slowly paced up and down with their arms about each 
other's waists. In the slim gentleman, now talking deferen- 
tially to Inspector Byde, the Chetwodes of Eadhampton 
would have recognised their cousin, Wybert Eae, expelled 
from his university just before he took to the turf as a 
' gentlemen-jock.' His limp would remain with him for life, 
a souvenir of absolutely fearless cross-country riding. His 
banishment from the turf had been due to other causes. 
At the present time, his means of livelihood were undefin- 
able — that is, in the nomenclature of polite definition. He 
could be met with, however, wherever Mabel Stanley, the 
taller of fliese two ladies, might be met with ; and wherever 
Mabel Stanley might be met \yith, there also could be met 


this other lady, Alphonsine Moireau, the disowned daughter 
of a French optician established in Marylebone Lane. 

The noiseless folding doors behind the inspector opened 
gradually. Two men were standing on the threshold. 
One of them entered. The doors folded noiselessly upon 
the other. The man who entered, reeled and swayed in 
his walk. 

' Eaphael !' exclaimed in a low tone Mabel Stanley (once 
Eva Grey, once Alma Vivian) . 

' Gare, !' muttered Mdlle. Alphonsine, rapidly to the new- 
comer, as he stopped and gazed before him stupidly ; 
* Gare ! — y a du monde .' /' 

' Professor Valentine restored to us from the mansions of 
the opulent,' drawled the slim, fair gentleman. ' And the 
black art — how goes it, Valentine ?' 

The new-comer took a devious course towards the last 
speaker. Face to face with Mr. Eae, he solemnly picked a 
sovereign from that gentleman s left shoulder ; immediately, 
without uttering a word, changed it into a gold ring before 
his eyes ; as seriously blew the ring back to the left shoulder, 
and there transmuted it into a silver locket. He then 
turned up his wristbands as if to prepare for more elaborate 
feats of prestidigitation. 

' Bertie !' called the voluptuous Mabel sharply. 

The ladies waited at a side-door while the ex-gentleman 
steeplechase-rider waved a jaunty salute to Inspector Byde, 
and, with his rather interesting limp, rejoined them. 

The visage of the voluptuous Mabel wore an expression 
of alarm. They pushed through the side-door ; it closed 
after them noiselessly, like the larger doors beyond. 

' A-ha — a-ha, friend Eaphael,' said the inspector musingly, 
as he returned from a saunter among the tables — ' A-ha — 
a-ha ! — with talents like those you are a dangerous thief. 
Take my advice, now. Keep to the conjuring line, and 
get along honestly. Advertise Professor Valentine as free 
for penny readings, birthday parties, and temperance 

The inspector shot out both arms as he spoke, and ap- 
peared to Be pulling himself together. 

Eaphael swayed in the direction of the inspector, and 
bent a melting Oriental look upon him. 


' Theen my new trickth ?' he asked gravely. 

From the inspector's right shoulder he apparently ex- 
tracted the same silver locket, which he at once changed 
into a Japanese fan. 

' Watch thith,' he continued, agitating the open fan gently 
in the air. 

An artificial bird alighted on the fan from some one of 
the aerial regions known to all prestidigitateurs. 

The inspector was watching — and he was listening, too. 
He had held his hands down unclenched. Suddenly his 
lips parted, and he moved his arms almost imperceptibly 
upward from the elbow. 

* Theen my trick with the handkerchief ?' demanded 
Raphael, just before him, producing one. 

' No,' replied the inspector. 

The swaying form before him had not advanced. 
He could distinguish vaguely the white object which Pro- 
fessor Valentine still grasped, and which he had not 

The inspector staggered, and for a second or two the 
white object in front of him whirled round and round, and 
seemed to be whirling everywhere. 

Eaphael had not advanced, however. He still stood 
there, stupidly gazing to the right and to the left, and 
balancing his body with the starts and jolts of intoxica- 

Would it be credited — through the inspector's unhinging 
mind there flashed at this juncture the regret that he had 
come back from the Continent without a new dish for the 
Camberwell cuisine ! 

The handkerchief had been dashed against the 
inspector's face from behind. One hand held it tightly 
across his mouth and nostrils ; another gripped him at the 
back of the head. It was no doubt whilst in the very act 
of breathing that he had been seized. Had he not allowed 
for such a contingency as this ? Of course he must have 
allowed for this contingency, as well as for others. His re- 
spiration stopped. He clutched at the arm in front of him, 
and once more staggered. The vice in which his head had 
suddenly been taken, relaxed with the movement. 

' Now, boys 1' shouted the inspector — in a deafening voice 


as it resounded in his own ears, but very faintly to the ears 
of others. He had drawn a breath, however ; and, as with 
both hands he fastened upon the arm in front of him, during 
the brief and silent struggle which ensued, he inhaled the 
air again, again, and again, eagerly and greedily, his face 
averted from the cloth or coarse ample handkerchief whose 
sickly fumes had swept into his lungs, thence to drive liquid 
lead into the contracting veins. 

' Now, boys !' called the inspector, this time more 

His assailant used his utmost efforts to free himself, but 
in vain. 

Lady and gentlemen members of the Golconda Club had 
crowded in at the noiseless doors, and were blocking the 
entrances. They looked on at the struggle without com- 
ment, and without concern. 

The inspector's assailant dragged him furiously towards 
the principal exit. At a sudden commotion, audible from 
outside, Baphael hurried to the side-door. Vine, alias 
Grainger, dropped the handkerchief ; growling almost like 
a wild beast, and his face perfectly livid, he grappled with 
the inspector with immense power. It was too late ; the 
exertion availed him nothing now. 

Inspector George Byde was recovering, and he met his 
antagonist as he had met in times past many a murderous 
and hardy criminal. 

Sir John gasped out an appeal for rescue. None of 
the bystanders moved or spoke. In the Golconda 
Club there were few comrades, fewer friends, and no 

A detonation rang out as the group at the side-door 
parted. Vine, alias Grainger, tore himself partly free, and 
then fired again. But two men rushing from the side- 
door were upon him. For a moment, perhaps, he might 
elude these men, but escape from them would be impos- 

' Take him, boys !' urged the inspector, who had sunk to 
his knees. 

Vine, alias Grainger, levelled his revolver at the two 
men, and they hesitated. A bystander, whom they 
called on to secure him, shrugged his shoulders. Officers 


of the law possessed no allies among members of the 

' Take him,' repeated Mr. Byde feebly, 'it's murder !' 

An oath, a reckless gesture, a third and a fourth report. 
Sir John had turned the weapon against himself, and he fell 
with a bullet through his head. 

' I'll go for trial, then,' he pronounced laboriously, as 
one of the two men stooped, and lifted him into a sitting 

The other of the pair aided the inspector to regain his 
feet, and stood supporting him. 

' I want you,' murmured the inspector, as his gaze en- 
countered the unsteady figure of Professor Valentine. ' You 
are not drunk, you know ' 

' Me drunk — me !' Baphael hiccoughed, with a dislocating 
shock. He seemed to be positively collapsing under a 
seismic disturbance. ' Who thayth I'm drunk ? Me 
drunk !' He held himself erect by an ostensibly miraculous 
feat of equilibrium. ' I'd like to thee the man who thaid I 
wath !' 

' Mind he doesn't escape,' said the inspector faintly to his 
companion. ' We shall want him.' 

Blood was falling in large drops to the carpeted floor at 
the inspector's feet. His left arm hung loosely from the 
shoulder, and the palm and fingers of his left hand, now 
relaxed and open, glistened in a thickening crimson stream. 
He leant upon his companion for support, and his features 
contracted in a momentary spasm. 

' Serious ?' demanded his companion in a low tone 
anxiously. ' Hope not, sir ?' 

' Two places,' replied the inspector, composing his features 
with an effort ; ' left arm and shoulder. Nothing serious, 
though, I feel sure. Just support me to where that man is 

They approached the prostrate body of Sir John. The 
latter had closed his eyes, and was moaning in his struggles 
to breathe freely or to speak. 

The gentlemen of the Golconda Club looked on, impassive, 
silent, callous. Each for himself, and self-reliant ; not one 
willing to aid his neighbour — not one capable of trusting to 
his neighbour's- aid; all — the bandits, corsairs, wreckers of 


society. As the ladies and gentlemen of the Golconda— 
cheats and Delilahs, confederates and informers — stood in 
stony groups around the lofty and spacious apartment of the 
club, the tragic scene so rapidly enacted appeared unreal, a 
show, a piece of mere undisquieting make-believe — the 
rehearsal of a stage play in a vast and brilliant drawing- 
room — the actors, intense masters of their art — the spectators, 

It was blood, however, that tracked the inspector's uncer- 
tain progress, as he and his companion advanced slowly to 
the spot where lay the prostrate form : blood that rained in 
clinging, viscous drops through his numbed fingers, from his 
nerveless arm : blood that flowed into the shining, irregular, 
red patch underneath the dying man's head, and swelled the 
red patch there into a vermilion pool. 

' If we could have hindered that ,' murmured tho 

inspector regretfully. ' The case would have led up to 
sensational evidence. Ah, what I could have brought out ! 
The public might have had a glimpse of what goes on 
beneath the surface.' 

' He's done it too well,' said Mr. Byde's companion. 
1 But yourself — how do you feel yourself, inspector ?' 

' Eunning down fast. But it's only a faint, I'm sure. 
Hit in the shoulder. Tell Marsh to prop that man's head 
up. I can't speak loudly enough.' 

The other of the two strange men had knelt by the side 
of Sir John, and was loosening the latter's garments at the 
neck. In obedience to the direction, he at once gently 
placed the prone figure in a recumbent posture, which 
afforded the dying man almost instantaneous relief. His 
respiration became less laboured, and he unclosed his eyes. 

' Vine !' called the inspector, summoning up his energies. 

The gray eyes turned mechanically in the direction of the 
sound. They encountered the inspector's face, and they 
travelled no farther. A look of recognition dimly lighted 
them up, and dawned through the lines of the pale, con- 
vulsed visage. It seemed as though the ebbing spirit had 
been arrested on its path — arrested by that peremptory 
summons, and, for an instant, recalled. 

'Vine !' repeated the inspector more loudly; 'if I put a 
question to you — can you answer ?' 


Marsh bent forward to catch the whisper from the blood- 
less lips. With the whisper issued from the blanched lips 
a thread of vivid crimson, which gradually broadened in its 
downward course. ' Yes,' came the answer, followed by 
words only av.dible to the man stooping forward. 

' He says lies going for trial,' said Marsh. 

' Are we to take Finch for the railway murder ?' demanded 
Mr. Byde. ' Are we to take him — come?' 

' No I' was the distinct reply. 

' You are very ill, you know,' pursued the inspector. ' I 
am afraid you have hurt yourself seriously. Come ! — who 
shot that man, and got away so cleverly ?' 

Still fixed upon the inspector, the gray eyes had never- 
theless a gaze in them that went beyond him, elsewhere, far 
away. Once more, it was the constable in plain clothes, 
Marsh, who interpreted the barely articulate sounds. 

' He says he'll take his trial — — upstairs.' 

' Listen to me, Vine !' commanded the inspector, with a 
failing voice. ' Are you guilty, or not guilty — you hear— 
guilty, or not guilty ?' 

' Guilty,' whispered Sir John. His eyes wandered from 
Inspector Byde to the man who was supporting him, and 
who had picked up the revolver ; and as the light from 
above flashed along the bright metal chambers, the gray 
eyes rested for a moment upon the firearm itself, and then, 
with a vacant expression, drooped and closed. ' Guilty,' he 
sighed, whilst a frown appeared to gather about his brow — 
' and cleverly— but — I shot him — and — he is waking — 
must ' 

The crimson stream sluggishly trickling from his mouth 
welled forth in a sudden volume, and from bis forehead the 
gathering frown faded. As the head fell on one side, the 
muscles of the visage no longer at their painful tension, a 
slight stir from the surrounding groups proved that, among 
the silent members of the Golconda Club, there were some, 
at any rate, w 7 ho had attentively followed the scene. Indeed, 
a few fans were fluttering vigorously before a few white 
faces ; and the large blonde whose affability with Inspector 
Byde has been alluded to, belied her brazen smile and stare 
by an abrupt gesture of repugnance, and by a smothered 
phra?e of pity. She had herself been the cause of blood 



shed, as she would complacently recount to other ladies, 
and to gilded youth about the town. The sight of blood, 
however, endure she could not — she could not, really !' 

' Gone,' pronounced the constable in plain clothes, Marsh, 
allowing the lifeless body to sink at full length to the ground 
— ' gone, as he said, for trial !' 

' How is it you were twice late ?' complained the inspector 
in a feeble tone. ' The telegram I told Toppin to send off 
must have reached the Yard early in the day ?' 

' Sergeant Bell thought that Toppin must have been 
under a misapprehension when he telegraphed.' 

' Sergeant Bell thought ? Sergeant Bell thought ?' 
muttered the inspector, leaning heavily against his com- 
panion. ' There are two many Sergeant Bells at Scotland 
Yard. " Sergeant Bell thought !" Take care of that re- 
volver. I want it for the Remington affair.' 

' How do you feel, sir ?' asked the plain-clothes constable, 
Marsh. ' Let me get some brandy for you, here ?' 

' Not here — not here I And don't leave me, either of you. 
They know that I have valuables in my possession. Don't 
leave me !' Upon uttering which injunction, Inspector 
George Byde lost consciousness. 

Some of the gentlemen members of the Golconda began 
to stroll towards the police-officers,, 

' Stand back, you , all of you 1* exclaimed Constable 

Marsh savagely. 

Christmas Day had passed ; Mr. Finch had reaped hig 
harvest from the popular revelries of the succeeding forty- 
eight hours, and the same, in riotous living, had partially 
expended : and Inspector George Byde found himself per- 
mitted by his medical adviser, by Mrs. Byde, and by the 
weather, to repair at easy stages to the offices of the Chief, 
opposite Whitehall. 

The inspector was much paler than we have seen him 
since the outset of his mission on the subject of the Wilmot 
(Park Lane) inquiry, ' with confidential instructions as to 
possible issues therein involved.' He wore his left arm in a 
black silk scarf ; and the Chief, after a keen glance at him, 
pushed an easy-chair forward with his foot, and invited 
Inspector Byde to sit down. 


The Chief stated in brief, metallic accents that he had had 
the report of the Departmental surgeon before him, and 
that he had been pleased to know that from the inspector's 
injuries there would be no complications to be feared. He 
had just gone through the report dictated by the inspector 
to an amanuensis, on the previous day. The suggestions 
relating to matters extraneous to the inquiry entrusted to 
him should be duly noted ; prompt action would be taken 
upon them whenever apparent necessity should arise. 

Whenidentifying the abstracted valuables recovered for him 
by the Department, Mr. Stanislas Wilmot had expressed 
very great astonishment that any officer should have been 
able to secure the missing property absolutely intact, 
and had requested that the officer who had conducted the 
case with such signal success might call upon him to 
receive some personal reward. He (the Chief) need not say 
that Inspector Byde would be fully aware of the Departmental 
regulation on this point. 

With regard to Mr. Stanislas Wilmot himself, facts 
which had been quite recently communicated to them, 
would render it advisable to pay some attention to the 
business dealings of the Wilmot firm in Hatton Garden. 
A supervision would be arranged for, and if active mea- 
sures should turn out to be necessary, Inspector Byde 
would be consulted. 

'■ As to the original robbery from the strong-room of the 
Park Lane private residence, it was incredible that Sergeant 
Bell should have allowed the man Forsyth to elude him. 
Forsyth had been supposed to fill a place in Wilmot's em- 
ployment as butler. That appeared to be only nominally 
the state of the case. Forsyth possessed some sort of hold 
upon this Mr. Stanislas Wilmot. 

' We found the locksmith to whom Forsyth took certain 
keys, a few months ago, with an order for duplicates,' con- 
tinued the Chief ; ' but Bell entirely broke clown in the 
supervision he was told to exercise, and when we wanted the 
man Forsyth, he was well out of the way. We have reason 
for presuming that he made a dash for Holland. The 
Eemington affair has been explained by telegram and cor- 
respondence to the Paris authorities. One or two of the 
French newspapers, just to hand, deal with the murder in 



a style that is worth, your looking at. I have ordered the 
papers to be put by for you. A narrow escape you ran, it 
seems, at the hands of our worthy friend, Michel Hy He 
is publishing a little work, by the way — a book of wild 
theorising, for the use of visionary Continental detec- 
tives ; I have an advance copy from him somewhere about, 
and if you like to look at it while you are away from 
duty ' 

The inspector, who knew his Chief to be a man of the 
very fewest words, inferred from the unaccustomed length 
of the observations vouchsafed to him that ' the Yard ' 
rated his expeditious return, with the whole of the missing 
valuables, a greater achievement than either his colleagues 
or his superiors would be willing to admit explicitly 

Wild theorising ! That was the spirit in which they met 
originality — that was how they dismissed any conscien- 
tious searching after improved methods ! They would be 
describing him — Inspector George Byde — as a wild theorist, 
next ! 

Whilst awaiting his interview with the Chief, he had 
proved the theorem that if one side of a triangle be produced, 
the exterior angle shall be greater than either of the interior 
opposite angles ; that any two angles of a triangle are 
together less than two right angles ; and that the greater 
angle of every triangle is subtended by the greater side. 
He had been interrupted in a languid examination of the 
problem : To make a triangle of which the sides shall be 
equal to three given straight lines ; but any two whatever 
of these must be greater than the third. If anyone went 
into his room downstairs, during his absence, thought the 
inspector, and found his book upon the table — his book, and 
the scrap of paper covered with diagrams — they would 
laugh at him and his exercises, no doubt ! And yet how 
those exercises had cleared his head and braced his mind 
up for this interview ! 

' We shall have to reconsider the position of the Golconda,' 
continued the Chief. ' As you have seen from the 
memoranda furnished by Sergeant Bell, the woman who 
applied at the Knightsbridge post-office for ietters addressed 
" Adelaide," to be left till called for, was the Jane Clark, of 
South Bank, St. John's Wood, who has undergone terms of 


imprisonment for "long firm" swindles under the aliases of 
Daisy Dacre, Violet Vere, etc. ; and there is not the 
slightest doubt that she has been allowed to go on using 
the Golconda, in spite of their pledge to us. We trace that 
woman to various resorts in company with the man Rem- 
ington. Among other of her exploits, she proved as his 
principal creditor in the liquidation of his estate last year. 
Nothing connects her directly with this case, although the 
name and address noted upon the morsel of paper found 
near the body of the deceased had evidently been agreed 
upon between them, the handwriting being, so far as we can 
pronounce, that of the deceased himself. She must have 
formed the link of communication with Forsyth, but we 
cannot prove that. Your hint to explain the intervention 
of the man Vine would appear to be well founded. Some- 
body about the premises, or having access to them, must 
have been watching Forsyth, and must have been cognisant 
of his relations with Remington. Who ? That is more 
than we can saj^. Not, at any rate, the Brother Neel with 
respect to whom you have reported favourably. And that 
reminds me. We shall put this Maelstrom business under 
your charge. One of these so-called Good Templar leagues, 
professedly created for ' reclaiming ' the English artizan of 
the manufacturing towns,, but unquestionably a Socialist 
organization of the most determined character, is latterly 
in correspondence with both Paris and Vienna. Their 
programme and methods are expected to form new depar- 
tures. You will be good enough to give your attention to 
this, inspector ; we think you are just the man for the 

By that barely perceptible shake of the head, the inspector 
betrayed a misgiving. He knew his bias. It was too bad 
to be thus constantly exposed to the temptation of endea- 
vouring to atone by a public triumph for his one mistake. 
Ah — certainly it would be sweet to strike a blow at all these 
canting fellows ; but, as he impressed so often upon his son, 
Master Edgar, ' where the prejudice is strong, the judgment 
will be weak.' His own prejudice ran very strong, in the 
particular domain of the I.O.T.A. brethren, and their like. 
He could not stand them. Weren't they always posing for 
the monopoly of the Christian virtues ; wouldn't you think, 


to hear them prate, that all these dear-friend, brethren- 
fellows were heaven-sent teachers of a patented morality? 
Yes ; and when he remembered what he possessed at home, 
tied up with red tape, endorsed, and put away in pigeon- 
holes — ha ! — it made him smile to hear them prate, some of 
them, and to see them pose. There were a few of the 
hierarchs whose private lives had oddly strayed within the 
ken of Scotland Yard. If they owned the monopoly of the 
Christian virtues, why could they not let bygones be by- 
gones — why did they cherish rancour and bear malice — 
why was that money-making enterprise, the organ of the 
I.O.T.A. in the press, endlessly to be girding at himself, 
George Byde, because of a single mistake ? Well, they 
must go on as they might deem proper. Let them gird ! 
In the future Brother Neel had better keep his hands 

It was much more soothing to think of Mr. Sinclair and 
Miss Adela Knollys. Their course of true love had run 
smooth ; and the course of true love ran too often in rough, 
dark, and tortuous ways ; channels that the frailest or most 
foolish obstacle would sometimes part for ever ; sources that 
would brusquely separate, diverge, flow on — the one 
unruffled, pure, and bright ; the other clouded, acrid, and 
impetuous — flow on, diverging ever, to never, never re- 
unite. They both flowed into the sea, at last, these water- 
courses, mused the inspector wisely ; alas ! too often they 
were different seas, wide as the poles asunder, but salt, each 
of them, with tears. How she reminded him, Miss Adela 
Knollys, of his own dear fair-haired little daughter, May ! 
If she could have lived — ah I if their poor child only could 
have lived 

' And now, inspector,' concluded the Chief, wheeling his 
chair round to his bureau, with an air which the inspector 
understood — ' it is only due to yo 1 ! to add that the Depart- 
ment have full confidence in yoar abilities.' 

' I have clone my best, Sir Roland,' answered the inspector, 
on his feet at once, and erect, ' and if I have only been 
partially successful in the matter of the supplementary 
confidential instructions — another time ' 

' What ? — Oh — Why. we've nothing to complain of ! Your 
direct instructions were to recover abstracted property, and 


that was all — a packet of loose diamonds — exceedingly difficult 
undertaking, given the circumstances. "Well, you've done 
so, haven't you?' 

' Thank you, Sir Eoland,' answered the inspector, salut- 
ing. He crossed the room, closed the door behind him, 
and stood for a moment on the threshold, meditating. 

' Well, yes,' he added, in a tone of corroboration — 
« Q. E. IV 

ffiHE END. 

Billing and sons, printers, ouildford. 



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[July, 1888. 

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Red Spider. 

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Heart and Science 
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Little Novels. 
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New Magdalen. 

Paul Foster's Daughter. 

Hearts of Gold. 

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Circe's Lover3. 


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Queen Cophetua. 
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What will the World Say P 
Jn Honour Bound. 
Queen of the Meadow. 
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Of High Degree. 
Loving a Dream. 

tinder the Greenwood Tree. 


Ellice Quentin. 
Sebastian Strome. 
Prince Saroni's Wife. 

'Fortune's Fool. 
Beatrix Randolph. 
David Poindexter's Disappearance. 

(van de Biron. 

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Self Condemned. 
That other Person. 

fated to be Free. 

A Drawn Game. 
"The Wearing of the Green." 

Number Seventeen. 

Patricia Kemball. 
Atonement of Learn Dundas. 
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" My Love !" 
• one. 
Paston Carew. 

Gideon Fleyce. 

by yusTiN McCarthy. 

The Waterdale Neighbours. 
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Miss Misanthrope. 
Donna Quixote. 
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Quaker Cousins. 

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Held in Bondage. 



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Folle Farine. 
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Princess Naprax- 1 


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Good Stories of Men and other 


Her Mother's Darling. 
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Weird Stories. 



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Surly Tim. 

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Robin Gray. 

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James Duke. 

Dick Temple. 

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A Golden Heart. 

The House of Raby. 

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Thornlcroft's Model. 
The Leaden Casket. 
That other Person. 

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The Dark Colleen. 
The Queen of ConnauRht. 

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Oakshott Castle. 

In Exchange for a Soul. 

Patricia Kemball. 
The Atonement of Learn Dundas. 



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Gideon Fleyee. 

by justin McCarthy. 

Donna Quixote. 
The Comet of a 

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Dear Lady Disdain 
The Waterdale 

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ALife'sAtonement Hearts. 
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The Greatest Heiress in England. 
Phosbe's Fortunes. 


Held In Bondage. 



Under Two Flags. 


Cecil Castle- 

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Folle Farine. 
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Signa. One. 

Princess Naprax- 


In a Winter City. 





A Village Com- 




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Lost Sir Massing- 

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Clyffards of Clyffe 

The Family Scape- 

Foster Brothers. 

Found Dead. 

Best of Husbands. 

Walter's Word. 


Fallen Fortunes. 

What He Cost Her 

Humorous Stories 

Gwendoline's Har- 

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Like Father, Like 

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Carlyon's Year. 
A Confidential 

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Mrs. Lancaster's Rival. 

It Is Never Too Late to Mend. 
Hard Cash. | Peg Wofflngton. 

Christie Johnstone. 
Griffith Gaunt. 
Put Yourself in His Place. 
The Double Marriage. 
Love Me Little, Love Me Long. 
Foul Play. 

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The Course of True Love. 
Autobiography of a Thief. 
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A Simpleton. I A Woman-Hater. 

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Good Stories of Men and other 

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Women are Strange. 
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Guy Waterman. 
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Mary Jane's Memoirs. 
Mary Jane Married. 

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New Arabian Nights. | Prince Otto. 

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Frau Frohmann, 
Marion Fay. 
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John Caldigate. 

Like Ships upon the Sea. 
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Cavalry Life. | Regimental Legends. 


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Land at Last. 

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Jeff Briggs's Love Story. By Bret 

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Mrs. Gainsborough's Diamonds. By 

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Doom : An Atlantic Episode. By 

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The Dagonet Reciter. ByG.R.iSiMs. 
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Wife or No Wife ? By T. W. Speight. 
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